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Traders had a busy day as earnings season picked up speed and a series of economic announcements, including a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, hit the market. First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,579.00, +96.9, +0.8%
S&P 500: 1,308.04, +14.4, +1.1%
NASDAQ: 2,769.71, +41.6, +1.5%

And now, the top stories:

  • Goldman Sachs opened the day with earnings per share of $1.84, beating expectations, even as revenue missed. The company took a knife to compensation, lowering it by 21%. Revenue out of the company’s important fixed income and commodity trading division remained soft. Enjoy a few comparisons to Goldman payouts here >
  • State Street was not as lucky as Goldman. The third-largest custody bank missed analyst expectations this morning when it reported quarterly earnings of $435 million, or $0.87 a share. Analysts polled by Bloomberg were looking for $0.94. State Street drove earnings through cost cuts and headcount reduction.
  • The before the bell earnings were followed by a deluge of economic data points. Industrial production increased slightly less than forecast in December, gaining 0.4% during the month. Meanwhile, the headline producer price index fell 0.1%. Excluding volatile spending areas like energy and food, the core number increased 0.3% for December.
  • Housing data out at 10 a.m. continued the relatively strong economic picture developing. The National Association of Home Builders confidence index hit its highest level since 2007, registering at 25. That marked the fourth consecutive increase. 
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation began making arrests in the mounting insider-trading investigation. This morning the FBI arrested three people, while charging a total of seven with fraud. Meet the investors who were charged today.
  • CNBC’s Steve Liesman reported that the Department of Treasury had “no intention” of contributing further to an IMF bailout of Europe. Earlier today, reports noted the fund would seek $500 billion in additional funds to boost lending capacity to $1 trillion.
  • European traders were reassured that the region’s largest economy, Germany, would not fall into recession. Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said German growth would fall to about 0.7% in 2012, but that the next quarter would show economic expansion. GDP in the country contracted in the fourth quarter, making a second decline an official recession.
  • Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn announced to shareholders that he had closed his short position in First Solar, the hard pressed solar panel manufacturer. Einhorn entered the trade when shares were about $125 and watched them fall to $33.76. Shares in First Solar rallied some 9% after the letter leaked. Greenlight called the short “one of the most profitable in the history of [the company].”
  • The Obama administration rejected the controversial $7 billion Keystone Pipeline, which would have created a faster link between Hardisty and Steele City. Transcanada has the opportunity to reapply for an alternate route. Here’s why the project garnered so much attention.

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