Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened moderately higher on Friday, as Thursday''s positive U.S. economic reports continued to support, while investors eyed the release of U.S. home sales data later in the trading session.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 edged up 0.13%, the S&P 500 added 0.12%, while the NASDAQ Composite rose 0.20%.
The outlook for U.S. economic growth improved after the National Association of Realtors on Thursday said existing home sales increased 1.3% in April to an annual rate of 4.65 million units, indicating that the housing market is regaining momentum.
A separate report showed that U.S. manufacturing activity expanded at a faster rate than expected this month.
However, the Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for initial jobless benefits last week increased by 28,000 to 326,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 298,000.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) edged up 0.08% after it agreed to a French government request to extend by three weeks the deadline for its planned $17 billion purchase of Alstom''s energy units.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) added to gains, up 3.34%, after Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman announced more job cuts ahead after 11 consecutive quarters of declining sales.
On Thursday, the computer hardware and services reported second-quarter revenue of $27.3 billion, versus estimates of $27.4 billion.
On the dowside, Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI), the maker of Camel cigarettes, tumbled 1.45% amid reports it has been considering the purchase of Lorillard for several months but found its efforts were stymied by the complexity of a potential agreement.
Elsewhere, Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) saw shares dive 15.04% after the retailer forecast a bigger loss than estimated.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 edged up 0.13%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.14%, Germany''s DAX rose 0.27%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 fell 0.24%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng inched up 0.05%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.87%.