US stocks open solidly higher on trade data

US stocks opened higher Friday following an unexpected drop in the trade deficit and strong trade data out of China.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 69.86 points (0.50 percent) at 14,013.91.

The S&P 500 index rose 8.42 (0.56 percent) to 1,517.81, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 29.64 (0.94 percent) to 3,194.78.

The US trade deficit shrank more than expected in December, to $38.5 billion, instead of the $45.4 billion estimated by analysts.

Also Friday, China's trade surplus rose sharply in January, with both exports and imports beating expectations, as the country maintained its economic recovery on improving demand.

Apple continued to show upward momentum in the wake of the company's comments in response to a shareholder activist who wants the company to return more cash to shareholders. Apple is up 1.2 percent.

Internet networking site LinkedIn surged 18.1 percent after reporting a big jump in earnings. The company's chief executive called 2012 "a transformative year" for LinkedIn that produced record financial results.

AOL shares surged 10.8 percent after reporting a big jump in earnings compared with last year. Fourth-quarter revenues notched the first year-over-year growth in eight years, the company said.

McDonald's rose 0.3 percent despite reporting weakness in January sales in its Europe and Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa units. Sales were up 0.9 percent in the US compared with a year earlier, but declined 1.9 percent globally.

Moody's, which has been under pressure following a recent government lawsuit against rival Standard & Poor's, fell 4.9 percent despite reporting a big jump in earnings.

Boeing, which faces continued questions from government regulators over its grounded 787 Dreamliner aircraft, was off 0.8 percent.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.98 percent from 1.95 late Thursday, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury rose to 3.19 percent from 3.16. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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    Currencies
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    SGDCNY=X
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    GCM14.CMX
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    CLM14.NYM
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    U6C.SI
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    F86.SI
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