Stocks Open Higher, Eye on Facebook

U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday, with the imminent market debut of Facebook (FB.O) helping to lift battered investor sentiment. The Dow industrials lately rose 20.13 points to 12,462.62. The S&P 500 added 4.12 points to 1,308.98. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.07 point to 2,813.76.

Facebook Inc. priced its initial public offering at $38 per share late Thursday afternoon, coming in at the high end of its estimated range with a $16 billion debut.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded 16 Spanish banks and Santander UK PLC, a U.K.-domiciled subsidiary of Banco Santander SA (STD, SAN.MC), the latest blow for a country already facing economic recession, surging unemployment and a five-year property bust.

The Times and the Financial Times reported Friday that the new British regulations, which are expected to include a rule requiring banks to ring-fence their retail operations to shield them from investment banking, could mean that the retail side would fall short of HSBC’s profit targets.

Greece’s Parliament is to be dissolved so new elections can be held June 17.  The move Friday comes after an inconclusive election left squabbling politicians unable to form government, deepening the country’s political crisis and jeopardizing its membership in Europe’s joint currency.

Crude-oil futures traded lower Friday, looking at a sixth session of losses and trading at their lowest since early November. Crude for June delivery (NMN:CLM2) retreated 34 cents, or 0.4%, to $92.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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