(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - N.America) U.S. equity markets were higher as investors welcomed positive comments from Washington lawmakers on the fiscal cliff negotiations.
As at 2.45pm EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.01% ast 12,542.13, the S&P 500 was 0.04% higher at 1,353.75 and the NASDAQ was up 0.15% at 2,841.30.
Earlier in the day, President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House to discuss the fiscal cliff, the automatic onset of tax increases and spending cuts on Jan.1.
Boehner called the meeting "very constructive," noting that he outlined a framework that includes revenue and is "consistent with the president's fair and balanced approach." Reid said that he felt "very good" about the talks and believes that they now have "the cornerstones of being able to work something out."
In corporate news, computer-maker Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) said late Thursday that earnings fell 47% in its third quarter amid plunging PC sales and weakness in other business units. Revenue fell nearly 11% to 13.7 billion. The company maintained its full-year earnings outlook, but results for the quarter were slightly below Wall Street's already-low consensus.
The J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM) Friday said second-quarter profits jumped 17%, as revenues grew on its Sara Lee acquisition. The company also raised its full-year, per share guidance to 5.12 to 5.22, from its previous estimate of 5.00 to 5.10, and said it expects net sales to increase about seven per cent to about 5.92 billion.
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) said Friday that its "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" has set a new record, taking in more than 500 million in worldwide retail sales in the first 24 hours of release.
Reckitt Benckiser Group (LON:RBL) today said it has begun its 1.4 billion tender offer that it announced last night to acquire Schiff Nutrition International (NYSE:SHF), a supplier of branded vitamins, nutrition supplements and nutrition bars.
The 42.00 per share in cash offer, which represents an almost 24 per cent premium to Schiff's closing price last night, will expire at 9:00am ET on December 14, unless extended.
On the economic front, industrial production in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in October as superstorm Sandy took out power in the northeast, with output at factories, mines and utilities declining 0.4% last month.
On the NYMEX, crude oil for December delivery rose 97 cents to 86.42 a barrel while gold futures for December delivery were up 90 cents 1,714.70 an ounce.
In Europe, markets closed lower with the FTSE 100 and DAX both falling 1.3% and the CAC 40 slipping 1%.