Stocks Opened Mixed on Earnings, China Data

U.S. stocks opened mixed on Friday as a weak outlook from Intel was weighed against encouraging data out of China and a fourth-quarter profit at Morgan Stanley (MS). The Dow industrials were lately up 1.53 points to 13,597.55. The S&P 500 index was off 0.64 point at  1,480.32. The Nasdaq Composite shed 5.04 points to 3,130.96.

Intel’s (US:INTC) earnings for the fourth quarter managed to beat Wall Street’s downbeat forecasts, despite falling 24% from the same period the previous year. But the company’s forecast was a little below analysts’ estimates.

The giant Chinese economy picked up steam during the last few months of 2012, closely watched data from Beijing on Friday confirmed. China’s gross domestic product expanded 7.9 percent during the final quarter of last year, compared to a year earlier — slightly better than expectations, and significantly above the 7.4 percent pace recorded during the previous quarter.

Morgan Stanley reported a profit of $507 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $250 million. The per-share profit, which reflects the payment of preferred dividends, was 25 cents compared with a loss of 15 cents a year earlier.

General Electric booked a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, propelled by its new shift into oil and gas equipment. GE ended the quarter with a hefty backlog of orders—reaching a $210 billion, up from $203 billion a quarter earlier.

Spain’s central bank says the level of bad debt in the country’s banks rose to a new record 11.38 percent in November, up from 11.23 percent in October.

U.S. and Japanese aviation safety officials wrapped up their initial investigation of a badly damaged battery from a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner jet on Friday, saying further checks would be held in Tokyo and could take a week to complete.

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