Stocks Waver as Auto Sales Sputter


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U.S. equity markets edged higher on Friday as traders reviewed tepid auto sales data.

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Today's Markets

As of 3:21 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 70 points, or 0.43%, to 16511, the S&P 500 advanced 4.2 points, or 0.23%, to 1836 and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.4 points, or 0.03%, to 4141.

The year started off in a fairly glum way, with the Dow taking a triple-point loss in its worst annual kick off since 2008.

There is no economic data due out on the day, but there may be news from the Federal Reserve. Several speakers will be on tap at the annual forum held by the American Economic Association, including the central bank's outgoing chairman, Ben Bernanke.

Sales figures from the major U.S. automakers are also on the docket.

Ford's (NYSE:F) 2013 retail sales increased by 14% with trucks leading the way with a 17% increase for the year. General Motors' (NYSE:GM) December retail sales slid 6% while fleet sales fell 9%.

Elsewhere in corporate news, analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald said Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is their top large-cap pick of 2014.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures fell 3 cents, or 0.03%, to $95.41 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.07% to $2.786 a gallon. Gold rose $4, or 0.3%, to $1,228 a troy ounce.

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