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US stocks mixed after upbeat China trade data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange December 24, 2013 in New York
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 24, 2013 in New York

US stocks Wednesday were mixed in early trade following solid trade data from China that suggested potentially better prospects for the world's second-biggest economy.

About an hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9.89 points (0.06 percent) to 15,984.88.

The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 1.51 (0.08 percent) to 1,821.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 11.53 (0.28 percent) at 4,202.57.

Chinese exports jumped more than expected, increasing 10.6 percent to $207.13 billion, while imports were up 10.0 percent at $175.27 billion, according to Chinese government data.

Wall Street appeared buoyed by the House of Representatives's approval of a bill Tuesday to suspend the US debt ceiling until March 2015, with no strings attached. The Senate was expected to pass it, and President Barack Obama was poised to sign it.

"The stock market should be relieved that the House finally passed a 'clean' bill to suspend the federal debt ceiling," said Fred Dickson of DA Davidson & Co.

"We expected this action to happen given the American public's strong message to Congress of 'no repeat performance' following last October's partial shutdown of the federal government over the last debt ceiling debate."

Dow Chemical dipped 0.8 percent after it rebuffed a campaign by activist shareholder Dan Loeb to spin off its petrochemical assets. Dow said a review of the proposal showed it would have "negatively impacted Dow's value proposition," which is built around integrated product lines.

Dow blue-chip component Procter & Gamble updated its earnings forecast, generally lowering its projections due to unexpected currency fluctuations in Venezuela and other markets. The consumer-product giant estimated core earnings growth in a 3.0-5.0 percent range, compared with the prior estimate of 5.0-7.0 percent. Shares dropped 1.3 percent.

Investors sold off agricultural-equipment supplier Deere & Co. on a disappointing outlook. Deere projected that equipment sales would fall three percent in 2014. Shares fell 1.0 percent.

Online travel company TripAdvisor jumped 6.9 percent on a bigger-than-expected jump in sales in the fourth quarter. Revenues came in at $212.7 million, up from the $205.8 million expected by analysts.

Investors smiled on watch-maker and retailer Fossil, which rose 5.4 percent after earnings of $2.68 per share bested forecasts by 27 cents.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.75 percent from 2.72 percent, while the 30-year increased to 3.71 percent from 3.68 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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