Stocks Opened Higher after Trade Deficit Report

U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday after a report showed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately climbed 48.00 points, or 0.34%, to 13,992.05. The S&P 500 index gained 6.51 points, or 0.43%, to 1,515.90. The Nasdaq Composite index added 24.11 points, or 0.76%, to 3,189.24.

A rise in exports and lower imports of oil helped push the trade deficit to its narrowest point in nearly three years in December, suggesting the economy did much better in the fourth quarter than initially estimated. The country’s trade gap narrowed to $38.5 billion during the month, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD) said on Friday that January sales at established restaurants around the world fell 1.9 percent, a steeper decline than expected. McDonald’s expected sales and profit growth to be under pressure in the near term. At the same time, the leading fast food chain is comparing against strong results from a year ago, including a 6.7 percent gain in same-restaurant sales in January 2012.

Boeing started the year ahead of its European rival Airbus, after clinching the industry’s top spot in 2012, with broadly higher orders and deliveries in January, data showed on Friday.

Chinese exports and imports rose strongly in January, pointing towards solid growth both in China and abroad at the start of 2013, as German trade data showed a large surplus in 2012 but that domestic consumers are reluctant to spend.
 
Europe’s leaders will agree on Friday to push for a free-trade pact with the United States, according to a draft joint statement, putting the onus on the White House to respond to a proposal that would encompass half the world’s economic output.

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