Tallahassee Journal

Stocks mixed amid Wal-Mart, Greece news

Stocks mixed amid Wal-Mart, Greece news

Stocks are mixed Thursday as investors react to Wal-Mart’s earnings and Greece seeks a six-month extension on its rescue loan agreement. As of 12:08 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 0.1%, the S&P 500 is 0.1% higher and the Nasdaq composite is up 0.4%. Crude oil on the U.S. market is cratering — down 3.5% to about $51 a barrel.635599310930669846-AP-FINANCIAL-MARKETS-WALL-STREET-70881114

Dow component Walmart reported fourth quarter sales in line with expectations Thursday as foot traffic increased in stores and more people placed online orders during the holiday shopping season. Investors, though, are in sell-off mode, sending the retail giant’s stock, WMT, down 2.6%. Greece has requested an extension in its rescue loan agreement — but not associated budget measures — in a last-moment bid to break a deadlock with its creditors in the 19-country eurozone over its bailout program.

However, Germany — the biggest European contributor to Greece’s rescue loans — responded coldly to the request. In Asia, Japanese stocks climbed to their highest level in nearly 15 years. The Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4% to close at 18,264.79. It earlier reached an intraday peak of 18,322.50 – the benchmark’s highest level since May 2000 – as strong trade data and hopes for a compromise over Greece’s debt boosted sentiment. Most regional markets were closed for lunar new year holidays.

Greece requested a six-month extension in its rescue loan agreement — but not the associated budget measures — on Thursday, but Germany, the biggest European contributor to Greece’s rescue loans, responded coldly to the request. While the main stock market in Athens was up 0.7% at 854, Germany’s DAX was flat at 10,965. The CAC-40 in France was 0.6% higher at 4,826.47 while the FTSE 100 index dropped 0.1% to 6,889.

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