- Retail sales beat forecasts in December
- JPMorgan up, Wells Fargo down after results
- Time Warner rejects offer from Malone's Liberty and Charter
Dow Jones: 0.07%
S&P 500: 0.43%
US markets were trading higher on Tuesday morning following a broad sell-off the day before, with upbeat retail sales lifting sentiment as investors assessed quarterly results from some banking heavyweights.
Stocks fell sharply during Monday's session as concerns about lofty equity valuations dampened risk appetite ahead of a busy week for corporate earnings.
Meanwhile, hopes over the continuity of the Federal Reserve's stimulus programme were quashed last night by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, who said that he supports "similar tapering steps" as the one taken in December in spite of Friday's woeful jobs report.
Retail sales "stronger than they look"
US retail sales rose at a month-on-month rate of 0.2% in December, ahead of the 0.1% increase expected by the consensus of analysts. However, November's 0.7% gain was revised lower to 0.4%.
Senior US Economist Paul Dales from Capital Economics said that the sales are "stronger than they look" and paint a strong picture for real consumption at the end of last year.
He said: "Overall, this report supports our view that a 4% annualised rise in real consumption will help to generate a decent 3% gain in overall gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of last year. That would provide a good platform for this year."
In other economic data, the NFIB Small Business Optimism index increased to 93.9 in December, from a reading of 92.5 in November and ahead of the 93.1 estimate.
Banks in focus, Time Warner Cable rebuffs offer
JPMorgan Chase & Co was making gains in morning trade despite reporting earnings per share (EPS) of $1.30 in the fourth quarter, down 7.3% on the year before due to poor results from its investment-banking division. However, adjusted EPS came in at $1.40 were ahead of analysts' estimates. Revenues, meanwhile, fell a less-than-expected 1.1% to $24.11bn.
In contrast, sector peer Wells Fargo & Co declined after beating expectations with a 10% rise in fourth-quarter EPS to $1, compared with the 98 cents forecast. Revenues were down 5.8% at $20.67bn, coming in below estimates.
US cable television group Time Warner rose after rejecting a third "lowball" takeover bid from smaller rival Charter Communications, a company backed by John Malone's Liberty Media.
Nasdaq-listed Charter, which is the fourth biggest cable company in the US, has publicly offered $132.50 per share for Time Warner, the second biggest cable company in the country, which is only slightly above Monday's closing share price.
Google rallied as the internet search engine revealed it was buying home-automation company Nest Labs for $3.2bn.
Workday declined following news the business-software maker plans to sell 6m shares.
The US 10-year government yield was up two basis points at 2.85%.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $0.74 to $92.54 per barrel, according to the ICE.