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U.S. stocks rise in midday trading

U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a two-week high, as speculation the crisis in Ukraine won’t escalate overshadowed weaker-than- estimated economic data.

Kohl’s Corp. added 3.4 percent to a four-month high after quarterly results beat estimates. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gained 0.1 percent after reporting stagnant same-store sales and lowering its profit forecast, while Cisco Systems Inc. declined 2.7 percent after forecasting little to no sales growth. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Class A shares traded above $200,000 for the first time.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent to 1,952.14 at 12:28 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,689.88. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 26 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day.

“The market is ebbing and flowing off of geopolitical news, it’s been all quiet in the past 24 hours, and that has given a positive push to the market today,” Chad Morganlander, a money manager at St. Louis-based Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $160 billion, said in a phone interview. “The overall jobs market in the U.S. remains bullish, but there is somewhat cautious tone on the European economy.”

Equity futures and European stocks erased earlier losses after President Vladimir Putin said Russia will do everything it can to stop the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Stocks had slumped after data showed the euro area’s recovery unexpectedly stalled in the second quarter after its three biggest economies

Prospects of the euro-region’s economy slipping back into recession have fueled speculation the European Central Bank may boost stimulus measures, while U.S. economic strength has created concern that the Federal Reserve may be forced to act on rates sooner than anticipated.

The U.S. central bank remains on pace to wind down its monthly bond purchases in October. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said officials will keep the benchmark rate low for a “considerable time” after the bond buying ends.

Wal-Mart gained 0.1 percent to $74.08. The world’s largest retailer said sales at stores open at least a year were stagnant in the last quarter. The company cut its 2014 profit forecast because of higher health-care costs and slow traffic at its supercenters.

Kohl’s, Cisco

Kohl’s advanced 3.4 percent to $56.99, the highest since April. The department-store chain posted second-quarter profit of $1.13 per share, more than the $1.07 projected by analysts.

Cisco slipped 2.7 percent to $24.53 for the biggest drop in the Dow. The world’s largest networking-equipment maker forecast adjusted earnings of 51 cents to 53 cents a share, compared with the 53-cent average analyst projection. Cisco will also take a charge of as much as $700 million to cut 6,000 jobs.

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