NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. and global stocks rose modestly in early trading Friday, on track for a second straight weekly gain, helped by encouraging economic news in the U.S. and word from China that the country won’t devalue its currency further to make its exports more competitive.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,737 as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,958 and the Nasdaq composite rose 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,605.
All three indexes are up more than 2 percent this week and are positive for February, a turnaround from the dismal performance for the stock market in January.
POSITIVE MOMENTUM: The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter than originally estimated, the Commerce Department said Friday, helping soothe concerns that the U.S. economy was starting to sputter. The gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, grew at an annual rate of 1 percent in the fourth quarter, an improvement from the first estimate of 0.7 percent. Economists were expecting a reading of 0.4 percent growth.
OIL: U.S. crude gained $1.03 to $34.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed up 92 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose $1.32 to $37.02 a barrel. Energy stocks were among the biggest gainers, making the energy sector the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, up 1.4 percent.
CHINA CURRENCY: Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, said at the G-20 meeting in Shanghai that China would not engage in currency devaluations for the sake of its export competitiveness. China’s currency devaluations have been a source of concern for investors since August, when the country surprised global markets with an unexpected yuan devaluation and trigged fears that the world’s second-largest economy was slowing down far faster than thought.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.58 yen from 112.30 in the previous day’s trading. The euro edge down to $1.0965 from $1.1020.
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