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The Markets Now: Stocks Move Higher, LinkedIn Surges

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After a recent dip in stocks, an improved European business climate encouraged investors.

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Stocks moved higher Friday, responding to positive news in the European markets, which recently sank on news of an Italian banking scandal.

A historic blizzard is hitting New England today, but the New York Stock Exchange remained open. The exchange closed for two days during Hurricane Sandy.

In economic news, the US trade balance was -$38.5 billion, which was larger than expected.

The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 40 points, rising to 13984.75 and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) went up 0.45% to 1516.19. The Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) moved up 0.86% to 3192.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) told airlines that deliveries of 787 Dreamliners may be delayed following the grounding of 787s post-investigation. Its shares declined to $76.58, down 1.07%.

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) will continue to face lawsuits over the phone hacking scandal that involved public figures such as actor Hugh Grant and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Its stock inched up 2.11% to $28.49.

Linkedin (NYSE:LNKD) surged 18.51% to $147.06 after fourth-quarter revenue topped $300 million.

Manufacturer of semiconductors Microchip Technology (NASDAQ:MCHP) posted record third-quarter sales of $416 million but less than robust profit. The company expects fourth-quarter earnings of $0.45 to $0.49 per share, above analyst expectations of $0.42 per share. Shares rose 7.51% to $36.49.

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) stock remains high at $165.07, up 2.98% after the biotechnology company took ownership of Tysabri, a multiple sclerosis treatment, for $3.25 billion.

Coinstar's (NASDAQ:CSTR) estimates for the first quarter were lower than expected at earnings per share of $0.77 to $0.92 compared to analyst predictions of $1.21 per share. The company's fourth-quarter net income fell to $0.75 per share from $1.00 a year earlier. Its stock sank 8.45% to $47.74.

AOL (NYSE:AOL) beat Wall Street expectations after posting fourth-quarter earnings of $35 million, up 57% from last year. Advertising revenue rose 13% but AOL's subscription revenue declined 10%, the lowest drop in 10 years. Shares ascended to $33.82, up 7.67%.

KKR & Co. LP's (NYSE:KKR) profit almost doubled, now at $0.36 per share from $0.20 per share a year ago. Its stock went up 1.35% to $17.96.

Moody's (NYSE:MCO) reported a 66% rise in profit and expects 2013 earnings in the range of $3.45 to $3.55 per share. Analysts expected $3.18 per share. The stock continues to sink, however, after the US government brought a suit against Standard & Poor's. Investors are bracing for a potential suit against Moody's. Shares moved down 5.77% to $44.27.

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings (NYSE:AXL) reported earnings per share of $4.21 for the quarter, beating analyst estimates. Buckingham Research reaffirmed it as a buy rating, bolstering the stock to $12.34, up 4.14%.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock was buoyed by news that it is considering returning additional cash to shareholders after David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital sued Apple in an effort to force the company to return more money. Shares rose 1.62% to $475.94.

Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) CFO David Ebersman sold his stock, totaling $5 million, under the price of $28.87 per share. Shares inched up 0.63% to $28.85.

In futures, gold declined 0.1 to 1671.2, and crude oil moved up 0.59 to 96.43.
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