US STOCKS-Wall Street advances after stream of economic data

Fri Feb 8, 2013 10:25am EST
 
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* China, German data positive

* U.S. trade deficit shrinks

* LinkedIn surges after earnings, outlook

* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index rose on Friday after a batch of positive economic data points, but gains were checked with the benchmark S&P index at five-year highs as investors looked for strong catalysts to push the market further upward.

Data showed Chinese exports grew more than expected in January, while imports climbed 28.8 percent, highlighting robust domestic demand, while German data showed a 2012 surplus that was the nation's second highest in more than 60 years, an indication of the underlying strength of Europe's biggest economy.

Another positive sign was U.S. economic data which showed the trade deficit shrank in December to $38.5 billion, its narrowest in nearly three years, indicating the economy did much better in the fourth quarter than initially estimated.

But wholesale inventories unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent in December as auto dealers and agricultural suppliers drew down their stocks.   Continued...