Stocks Opened Modestly Up after Rally

U.S. stocks opened with marginal gains on Friday as economic data supported the Federal Reserve’s view that inflation remains in check. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 33.68 points to 12,937.76. The S&P 500 gained 3.32 points to 1,361.36. The Nasdaq Composite fell 3.30 points to 2,956.55.

Gasoline prices jumped 0.9 percent in January, pushing overall consumer prices up at their fastest clip in four months and offering a reminder of the risks energy costs could pose to the economic recovery. The Labor Department on Friday reported that consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% on the month, slightly below economists’ consensus expectations of a 0.3% increase.

Congress is getting ready to vote on extending a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for people out of work the longest, a showdown that many legislators hope will finally end a standoff that has dominated Washington since the fall.

A Greek bond swap reportedly being conducted by the European Central Bank has boosted prospects for a deal early next week to approve a second bailout for the debt-strapped country, economists said Friday.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she, together with the leaders Italy and Greece, are “optimistic” that a second massive bailout for Greece can be agreed next week.

Hundreds more flights were canceled Friday at Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s third busiest, as a ground workers’ strike entered its second day. However, international flights were not affected, and airport lines and delays otherwise appeared to be limited.

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