U.S. stocks open mixed to higher in subdued trade; Dow Jones up 0.50%
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.50%, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.52%, while the Nasdaq Composite index dipped 0.04%.
Stocks came under pressure after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the bank could begin slowing asset purchases by the end of 2013 and wind them down completely by the middle of 2014 if the economy picks up as the central bank expects.
On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index rose to 12.5 in June from minus 5.2 in May, outstripping expectations for a reading of minus 2.0 and rising at the fastest pace since April 2011.
The data came after the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits last week rose by 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 354,000, a three-week high, compared to expectations for an increase of 4,000 to 340,000.
Oracle plunged 8.88% after the company announced late Thursday that it missed forecasts for software sales and subscriptions for the second straight quarter.
In the same sector, Apple slid 0.32% after the tech giant made a final pitch to defend itself against U.S. charges it led publishers in a scheme to fix the prices for electronic books.
In company news, Sprint Nextel, down 1.56%, raised its buyout offer for Clearwire to USD5 per share late on Thursday and announced support from a key group of dissident shareholders, trumping rival suitor Dish Network.
On the upside, AT&T gained 0.44% amid reports it explored potential deals in the last two months including buying part of Telefonica or some of its foreign assets.
Adding to gains, Facebook surged 2.30% after UBS raised its rating on the social-networking giant to "buy" from "neutral."
Other stocks in focus included CarMax and Darden Restaurants, due to report results.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 edged down 0.17%, France's CAC 40 edged up 0.07%, Germany's DAX declined 0.39%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.13%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.59%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.62%.
Trading volumes were expected to remain light, as no U.S. data was scheduled to be released throughout the day.
Investing.com - Investing.com offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.
Read more News on Investing.com or Follow us on Twitter at @Newsinvesting