Dow record in sight

Posted at 8:23 AM, Feb 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-13 08:23:58-05

NYSE floor

By CNNMoney Staff

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — With the Dow near an all-time high, investors head into Wednesday awaiting economic data and the latest round of corporate earnings.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Census Bureau will release data on retail sales, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release data on import and export prices. At 10 a.m. ET, the Census Bureau will release data on business inventories.

U.S. stock futures were slightly higher ahead of the open, after finishing mixed on Tuesday. The Dow is just 1.2% away from its record high set in October 2007. The S&P 500 has also had a solid run, coming within 4% of its record high, also set in October 2007.

On the corporate front, Deere reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations before the opening bell, sending shares 2% higher. Earnings from Thomson Reuters also beat estimates. Cisco Systems is up after the bell.

Meanwhile, shares of Groupon jumped 7% after Sterne Agee upgraded the company to buy from neutral and gave the stock a $9 price target. Comcast shares climbed 8% after news late Tuesday that the cable company will buy out General Electric’s 49% stake in NBCUniversal. GE shares were up 3%.

Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources dropped 12% after the mining company announced plans to sell stock and was downgraded by several analysts.

Investors will also get a chance to mull over President Obama’s State of the Union address, which included calls for a $9 minimum wage and additional deficit reduction.

Stocks have had a strong run so far this year and investors have been hitting the pause button in anticipation of a pullback as they await the next catalyst to buy, or sell.

European markets were mixed in quiet morning trading. French bank Societe Generale fell sharply after reporting a deeper fourth quarter loss than analysts were expecting. Asian markets ended mixed. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1% one day ahead of the release of new GDP figures and the Bank of Japan’s latest policy announcement.

Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

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