NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Major U.S. stock averages opened flat Friday as investors awaited the outcome from a weekend meeting of the G-20.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising nearly 6 points, or 0.04%, to 13,979. The S&P 500 was up 0.54 points, or 0.02%, at 1,521. The Nasdaq was up 2.08 points, or 0.07%, at 3,200.
Adam Sarhan, founder and CEO of Sarhan Capital, said “the markets had a big run, and at this stage of the game we’re simply pausing to digest that move, which is very healthy. The fact that we’re not pulling back is a subtle, yet very important, signal of strength. … If this market pulls back, it deserves a bullish benefit of the doubt.”
Major U.S. stock averages ended little changed Thursday amid a number of high-profile corporate deals and better-than-expected jobs data.
A number of U.S. economic data points were released before the market open Friday.
The New York Empire State manufacturing survey showed a reading of 10 for February, above expectations for a flat read and up from negative 7.8 in the prior month.
The Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 0.1% in January after increasing by an upwardly revised 0.4% in December. Economists thought output would increase by 0.2% for last month.
Capacity utilization fell to 79.1% from an upwardly revised 79.3%. Economists were predicting an increase to 78.9%.
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is forecast to show a read of 73.5 versus a previous 73.8.
U.S. markets are closed Monday for Presidents Day.
Finance ministers of the G-20 nations were meeting in Moscow Friday amid widespread concerns of rising risks of currency wars, with the Japanese yen’s depreciation one of the areas of focus amid Japan’s aggressive monetary policy.
In the U.S., sequestration talks in Washington continued Thursday, with Senate Democrats proposing a $110 billion combination of spending cuts and tax increases to avoid automatic spending cuts that kick in at the beginning of March. However, Republicans objected to a rise in tax rates or other measures to generate more tax revenue.
Gold for April delivery was falling $21 at $1,614.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures were down $1.41 at $95.90 a barrel.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling by 4/32, raising the yield to 2.015%. The dollar was up 0.1%, according to the U.S. dollar index.
In corporate news, V.F. Corp. (VFC_) shares were jumping by more than 2.5% after the apparel company booked record full-year and quarterly profits, beating quarterly earnings per share estimates by 4 cents.
CBS (CBS_) shares were gaining 3% as analysts indicated they were staying positive about the media company’s prospects, despite its lower-than-expected quarterly results, as long as the advertising market remains favorable. The company said in its earnings release that it’s accelerating the pace of CBS’s share-repurchase program by another billion dollars.
Campbell Soup (CPB_) posted quarterly earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $2.33 billion, topping the average analyst estimate of 66 cents a share on revenue of $2.32 billion, with the help of solid results from its newly acquired Bolthouse Farms business. Shares were popping by 2%.
Kraft (KRFT_) shares were trading sideways as the company predicted fourth-quarter 2012 net revenue will be 10.7% lower than in the prior year.
J.M. Smucker (SJM_) shares were up 1% after the maker of jellies and jams posted quarterly earnings of $1.47 a share on revenue of $1.56 billion, versus the average analyst estimate of $1.39 a share and revenue of $1.56 billion.
Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, putting his money where his mouth is, added to his Apple (AAPL_) holdings as of the end of 2012. Apple shares were up incrementally.
Einhorn, who is suing the iPhone maker to try to prevent the company from changing its charter, now owns 1.3 million shares, according to his latest 13F filing, up from the third quarter, when he owned 1.09 million shares.
George Soros also added to his stake in Apple during the fourth quarter.
According to his latest 13F, Soros owned 183,976 shares of Apple, up from the 84,858 shares he owned in the third quarter.
Soros trimmed his position in other technology names, including Facebook (FB_) and Amazon.com (AMZN_). Facebook shares were up 0.73% and Amazon shares were down 0.46%.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A_) initiated a stake in Internet-infrastructure specialist Verisign (VRSN_), according to the latest 13F regulatory filings. Verisign shares were up 0.59%.
Warren Buffett’s holding company now owns 3,685,700 shares.
AIG (AIG_) saw George Soros and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group reduce their stakes in the insurer. Baupost Group, meanwhile, built a stake in AIG. Shares were up 0.18%.
Herbalife ( HLF ) shares were soaring by nearly 15% as Carl Icahn revealed a 13% holding in the company.
— Written by Andrea Tse in New York