US stocks : Dow up 0.3 pct
AOL Inc shares rose 7.5 percent to $33.77 after the online company reported higher quarterly profit, boosted by a 13 percent rise in advertising sales.
The CBOE Volatility index, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, was down 4.2 percent at 12.94. The gauge, a key measure of market expectations of short-term volatility, generally moves inversely to the S&P 500.
"I'm watching the 14 level closely" on the CBOE Volatility index, said Bryan Sapp, senior trading analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "The break below it at the beginning of the year signaled the sharp rally in January, and a rally back above it could be a sign to exercise some caution."
Data showed Chinese exports grew more than expected in January, while imports climbed 28.8 percent, highlighting robust domestic demand, while German data showed a 2012 surplus that was the nation's second highest in more than 60 years, an indication of the underlying strength of Europe's biggest economy.
Separately, U.S. economic data showed the trade deficit shrank in December to $38.5 billion, its narrowest in nearly three years, indicating the economy did much better in the fourth quarter than initially estimated.
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