Wall Street slightly higher on China data; S&P near resistance level
By Angela Moon | January 11, 2013 3:42 AM EST
Financial and telecommunications stocks were the day's top gainers, while the material sector was the biggest drag. The S&P 500 material sector index <.GSPM> was off 0.3 percent. The financial sector index <.GSPF> rose 0.6 percent and the telecom sector <.GSPL> was up 0.5 percent.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index was near a five-year closing high of 1,466.47. On Friday, the index had ended at the highest close since December 2007.
"The market is technically right at the level of resistance, near 1,465-1,467. A solid breakthrough above the level would be the start of a next leg higher, but it looks like it is going to be difficult to break above that level for now," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. He cited concerns about the earnings season and upcoming debt ceiling talks.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 9.84 points, or 0.07 percent, at 13,400.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 2.55 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1,463.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 2.01 points, or 0.06 percent, at 3,103.80.
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Data showed China's export growth rebounded sharply to a seven-month high in December, a strong finish to the year after seven straight quarters of slowdown, even as demand from Europe and the United States remained subdued.
In the U.S., claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, though seasonal volatility made it difficult to get a clear picture of the labor market's health.
Also, U.S. wholesale inventories rose more than expected in November and sales rose by the most in more than 1-1/2 years. The market's reaction to both reports was muted.
(Reporting By Angela Moon; Editing by Nick Zieminski)