GE, Comcast surge after big NBCUniversal deal

General Electric and Comcast both surged in heavy trade Wednesday after their $18 billion deal over NBCUniversal, as markets closed mixed on an otherwise lackluster day.

Apparently unaffected by President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech late Tuesday -- in which he pressed for more middle class-friendly policies and argued against big spending cuts -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 35.79 points (0.26 percent) at 13,982.91.

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 0.90 (0.06 percent) to 1,520.33, barely extending a five-year high reached Tuesday.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite climbed 10.39 points (0.33 percent) to 3,196.88.

Trade was strong in GE and Comcast, after Comcast agreed late Tuesday to buy joint-venture partner GE's 49 percent in entertainment group NBCUniversal for $18.1 billion, taking 100 percent control of the media giant.

Dow member GE shares added 3.6 percent while Comcast gained 3.0 percent.

Amazon gained 4.2 percent after it set a deal to supply programming from CBS Corp through its streaming entertainment services.

Rival Netflix added 4.7 percent, helped by its announcement of a contract to produce and stream an original children's series with Deamworks Animation.

BlackBerry -- the former Research in Motion -- lost nearly 8.0 percent, falling as a Gartner Survey showed that its third-ranked operating system lost market share in the 2012 fourth quarter, falling to 3.5 percent globally from 8.8 percent in the year-ago period.

Among companies reporting earnings, ThomsonReuters sank 2.3 percent after turning in fourth-quarter net earnings that slightly beat forecasts, but a five percent fall in revenue.

The company announced it would cut 2,500 jobs in its risk division by the end of the year as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Farm and construction equipment maker Deere dropped 3.5 percent despite its better-than-expected quarterly earnings; it forecast the industry as a whole would be flat this year.

Energy bar maker Cliffs Natural Resources plunged 20 percent after reporting a surprise fourth-quarter loss and slashing its dividend by 76 percent.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.02 percent from 1.98 percent Tuesday while the 30-year increased to 3.22 percent from 3.19 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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