Stocks edge up at the open

U.S. markets advance as investors look to push rally to a fourth straight day.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By CNNMoney.com staff

In the past six months, how often have you looked at your 401(k) and other investment balances?
  • Every day
  • Once a week
  • Every month or so
  • I can't bear to look

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks rose in the first few minutes of trading Friday as the market attempted to rally for the fourth straight day.

The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all made moderate gains.

On Thursday, stocks rose for the third straight day on a better-than-expected retail sales and the fact that General Electric's rating downgrade by Standard & Poor's was limited. Some analysts also credited the guilty plea and jailing of investment banker Bernard Madoff in a multi-billion dollar fraud case .

"It's a strange rally, this one, because it all seemed to start with that internal memo from Citi, but it's gone on all week," said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Markets, referring to a leaked letter from CEO Vikram Pandit on Tuesday that painted a rosy picture of Citigroup's balance sheet so far this year.

Jones, speaking before the bell, said that investors reacted positively because they're "primed for a rally." But they're "still nervous" about the economy, he said, which could threaten the ongoing, multi-session rally.

"There's a definitely a question of when, not if, the markets are going to turn down again," said Jones.

Economy: Before the start of trading, the Commerce Department reported that the January trade deficit was $36 billion in January. That's the lowest figure since October, 2002, when the trade deficit was $35.2 billion.

A deficit of $38 billion was expected, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com. In December, the deficit was $39.9 billion.

Also, the government reported that import prices were down 0.2%.

Companies:

AOL, a unit of media conglomerate Time Warner, named Google executive Tim Armstrong as its new president. The move was seen by analysts as an indication that Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500) - the parent of CNNMoney.com - is eager to prepare the ailing AOL for a spinoff or sale.

International: Global markets were higher. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei index closed up more than 5%. In Europe, stocks were up in midday trading.

Oil and money: Oil prices rose 19 cents a barrel to $47.22 after a big surge Thursday. The dollar was up versus the yen and the euro, but down against the British pound.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Some Converse copycats cost big bucks A few bargain brands got swept up in Chuck Taylor's net, but others cost a pretty penny. More
Urban infrastructure gets a second life Railroad beds become parks, power plants become aquariums and slaughterhouses are now art centers as an industrial past turns people-centric. More
Boomtown moms From working mothers raising their kids in RVs to stay-at-home moms who spend their days organizing events for the Oil Wives club, meet the moms of North Dakota's oil boom. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.