Stocks Opened Higher on GDP, Europe Hopes

U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday, as investors welcome a slightly better-than-expected reading on U.S. second- quarter GDP, and amid continued hope of help for Europe’s troubled nations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 64.33 points, or 0.50%, to 12,952.26. The S&P 500 index climbed 8.17 points to 1,368.19. The Nasdaq Composite gained 12.12 points to2,905.37.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending. The Commerce Department also said Friday that the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter. It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent.

European policymakers are working on “last chance” options to bring Greece’s debts down and keep it in the euro zone, with the ECB and national central banks looking at taking significant losses on the value of their bond holdings, officials said.

Chevron says its net income fell nearly 7 percent in the second quarter as oil prices and production declined. The oil company earned $7.21 billion, or $3.66 per share, lower than the $7.73 billion, or $3.85, a year earlier. Revenue fell by 9 percent to $62.6 billion. Chevron’s results beat Wall Street estimates of $3.23 on revenue of $71.4 billion.

Apple Inc (AAPL) has agreed to buy AuthenTec Inc (AUTH) for $8.00 per share, the maker of fingerprint sensor chips used in personal computers said, in a deal valued at about $356 million.

Merck & Co.’s second-quarter net income fell 11.4 percent as slightly higher sales were offset by acquisition and restructuring costs, but the drugmaker beat Wall Street expectations. Its net income was $1.79 billion, or 58 cents per share, down from $2.02 billion, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier.

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