Stocks Rise on German Data, HP Earnings

U.S. stocks began higher on Friday, boosted by positive economic data from Europe and better-than-expected earnings from Hewlett-Packard. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 41.39 points, or 0.30%, to 13,922.01. The S&P 500 index gained 4.91 points, or 0.33%, to 1,507.33. The Nasdaq Composite rose 10.87 points, or 0.35%, to 3,142.36.

The German Ifo business climate indicator for February beat all forecasts and the Commission’s figures underscored the increasing division between muscular economies such as Germany’s and those in the debt-strained parts of the euro zone.

Hewlett-Packard Co’s (NYS:HPQ) quarterly revenue and forecasts beat Wall Street expectations. HP’s fiscal first-quarter revenue shrank 6 percent to $28.4 billion in a flat to shrinking personal computing market, but it beat the $27.8 billion Wall Street analysts had expected on average. Net income fell 16 percent to $1.23 billion, or 63 cents a share, from $1.47 billion, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier.

Citigroup Inc (NYS:C) said on Thursday it has overhauled an executive pay plan that shareholders rejected last year as overly generous, revising it to tie bonus payments more closely to stock performance and profitability.

Texas Instruments Inc. says it is increasing its dividend by 33 percent and plans to buy back up to $5 billion more of its shares. The company will pay a 28 cent-per-share dividend on May 20 to shareholders of record as of  April 30. That’s up from its last dividend payment of 21 cents per share.

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