US STOCKS-Wall St rises after 3-day drop; set for weekly loss

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Dec 13, 2013 18:30 hrs

* Producer prices fall for third straight month in November

* Investors cautious before Fed meeting next week

* Qualcomm says COO Steve Mollenkopf to become CEO in March

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained slightly on Friday as investors were cautious after a three-day drop and ahead of the Federal Reserve's final policy meeting of the year next week.

Investors have been trying to gauge the timing of when the U.S. central bank may begin to scale back its stimulus measures, with many market participants expecting the Fed to announce a tapering of its monthly bond purchases in March.

However, recent signs of strength in economic data have led some investors to be wary of the possibility of an earlier pullback by the Fed, which holds a two-day policy meeting next week.

"The last couple of days selloff with (bond) yields rising a little bit definitely tells you the taper talk is back, and people are starting to build a little of that into it," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

"You have a lot of guys who are sitting back; maybe they are up, averages are better, so why risk it here?"

Economic data on Friday showed producer prices declined in November for a third straight month, indicating a lack of inflation that could give the Federal Reserve pause regarding the stimulus.

The S&P 500 fell 1.8 percent over the previous three sessions, putting the benchmark index on track for its worst weekly decline since the end of August. The index is up nearly 25 percent for the year, largely fueled by the Fed's stimulus.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.51 points or 0.17 percent, to 15,765.94. The S&P 500 gained 1.83 points or 0.1 percent, to 1,777.33. The Nasdaq Composite added 7.643 points or 0.19 percent, to 4,006.045.

Adobe Systems Inc jumped 11.4 percent to $60.10, giving the biggest boost to both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 indexes after the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software forecast current-quarter results below analysts' estimates, but reported a surge in the number of subscribers to its Creative Cloud suite from the previous quarter.

Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc said Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf will become its chief executive officer in March, replacing Paul Jacobs, who will be executive chairman. Qualcomm shares rose 0.3 percent to $72.95.

In the energy sector, shares of Anadarko Petroleum Corp slumped 8 percent to $76.97 a day after a U.S. judge ruled that Anadarko and its Kerr-McGee unit acted with "intent to hinder" when they spun off Tronox, a paint materials company that later went bankrupt. The judge ruled that Anadarko and Kerr-McGee should pay billions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs. The decision had been awaited for about a year since a trial wrapped up in late 2012.

In the Internet arena, Twitter Inc was forced to nix a change to its "block" feature on Thursday after users protested that the new policy empowered perpetrators of online abuse. Twitter shares rose 2.6 percent to $56.76.

Investors in U.S.-based funds pulled $6.51 billion out of stock mutual funds in the week ended Wednesday, the biggest weekly outflow this year, on worries over an imminent winding down of the Fed's bond purchases, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed on Thursday.

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