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Stocks rise...Google shares top $800...Homebuilder confidence slips

Tuesday - 2/19/2013, 12:00pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are higher in early trading on Wall Street, amid talk of more mergers and acquisitions. Reports that retailers Office Depot and OfficeMax are discussing a combination come shortly after several big corporate deals were announced in recent weeks.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google's stock is trading above $800 for the first time. Today's milestone comes more than five years after Google initially hit $700. Not long after breaking that barrier in October 2007, the economy collapsed and Google's stock tumbled. But it's gone up about 35 percent since co-founder Larry Page replaced his managerial mentor, Eric Schmidt, as CEO in April 2011.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Confidence among U.S. homebuilders has slipped from the six-and-a-half-year high it reached last month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index fell in February for the first time since April, dropping one point to 46. Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The index hasn't reflected positive sentiment since April of 2006.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- France says its economy won't grow as much as previously thought this year. French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND') says "everyone knows" it won't reach its growth target of 0.8 percent for 2013. He says a revised target will be announced by the end of next month. The European Commission releases its economic forecasts for the 27-country European Union on Friday.

SEATTLE (AP) -- The union for Boeing's engineers and technical workers is counting ballots today on a contract offer and whether to authorize a strike. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace is recommending that members reject the offer because it would provide a 401k retirement plan for new employees instead of a pension.

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