U.S. stocks opened mixed on Friday, as markets were jittery ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, scheduled later in the day.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.31%, the S&P 500 index added 0.25%, while the Nasdaq Composite index inched up 0.02%.
Market sentiment weakened earlier, after data showed that China''s non-manufacturing purchasing managers'' index fell to 54.6 in December, from a reading of 56.0 the previous month.
Reports earlier in the week showed that China’s final HSBC PMI inched down to 50.5 in December from a reading of 50.8 in November, while China’s manufacturing PMI fell to a four-month low of 51.0 last month from 51.4 in November.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing saw shares climb 0.79% as the company''s machinists were preparing to vote on a contract that would see benefit cuts in exchange for building the 777X aircraft in the Seattle area.
Leaders from the union had rejected an initial contract in November.
FireEye skyrocketed 26.44% after the global network security company said it is acquiring Mandiant Corp. in a USD1.05 billion deal that consolidates providers of services that protect computer networks against hackers and spies.
Elsewhere, 21st Century Fox rallied 2.07% amid reports it sold its minority stake in Star China TV, in part of a strategy to divest businesses in which the company can''t gain majority ownership.
Analog Devices edged up 0.08% after Goldman Sachs Group reduced the circuit manufacturer to "sell" from "neutral" and Wells Fargo cut the stock to "market perform" from "outperform".
On the downside, Sprint shares plummeted 4.04% after Stifel Nicolaus & Co. downgraded the operator to "sell" from "hold".
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.47%, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.56%, Germany''s DAX advanced 0.49%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 rose 0.31%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index plummeted 2.24%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index remained shut for a national holiday.
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