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Stocks on record run at November's halfway point

Friday, 15 Nov 2013 | 5:33 AM ET

The Dow and the S&P 500 come off record closes once again, with U.S. stocks on pace for their best November since 2009. Both averages are on pace for a sixth consecutive week of gains, having risen in four of the past five sessions.


The final trading day of the week brings a handful of economic reports, beginning with the shutdown-delayed October report on import and export prices for October at 8:30 a.m. ET. At the same time, the New York Federal Reserve Bank will release its November Empire State Survey, a measure of manufacturing activity in the state.


At 9:15 a.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will be out with October industrial production and factory capacity utilization figures for October. Consensus forecasts call for a 0.2 percent increase in industrial production, with utilization unchanged from September levels at 78.3 percent.


At 10 a.m. ET, we'll see another shutdown-delayed report, as the government releases September wholesale inventories, expected to increase by 0.4 percent after rising 0.5 percent in August.


There are no earnings reports of note out today, either before this morning's opening bell or after the close this afternoon.


Applied Materials (AMAT) is among our stocks to watch, posting fiscal fourth quarter profit of 19 cents per share, excluding certain items, one cent above estimates, with revenue in line with expectations. The maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment saw more customers build new facilities as they ramp up production of advanced components.


Exxon Mobil (XOM) is the latest new investment from Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, with a quarterly filing showing a new 40.1 million share stake in the oil giant. At the same time, Berkshire cut its stake in ConocoPhillips (COP) to 13.5 million shares from 24.2 million the prior quarter.


Agilent (A) earned 81 cents per share, excluding certain items, for its fourth quarter, beating estimates by five cents. However, the maker of electronic testing equipment did predict current quarter profit below Street consensus.


Kimberly-Clark (KMB) will pursue a spinoff of the company's health care business. The consumer products maker said such a move would create a standalone publicly traded health care company with about $1.6 billion in annual sales.


Nordstrom (JWN) reported third quarter profit of 69 cents per share, beating estimates by three cents. However, expenses rose, and the retailer's anniversary sales – which took place in the prior quarter – did not generate as much sales growth as expected.


Apple (AAPL) still has Carl Icahn as a major shareholder, but his stake is slightly smaller than previously disclosed. A new filling shows Icahn owned about 3.88 million shares at the end of September, after saying he owned just over 4.7 million shares in a publicly disclosed letter to CEO Tim Cook on October 24.


Comcast (CMCSA) plans to sell movies through its set top boxes as well as its Xfinity TV website, according to a Reuters report. Comcast is the parent of NBCUniversal, which owns CNBC.


WPX Energy (WPX) will form a limited partnership representing interests in natural gas properties in Colorado, and will offer units in that partnership to the public in the first half of next year.