Stocks Scale Back Slide after GDP Data

U.S. stocks cleared opening losses in early trading on Friday after the U.S. government reported the economy grew 2% in the third quarter, better than expectations of 1.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 6.03 points to 13,109.71. The S&P 500 index was up 1.42 points at 1,414.39. The Nasdaq Composite rose 10.86 points to 2,996.98.

The U.S. economy expanded at a slightly faster 2 percent annual rate from July through September, buoyed by an uptick in consumer spending and a burst of government spending. Growth improved from the 1.3 percent rate in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Cable giant Comcast Corp.(CMCSA), the nation’s largest provider of TV and high-speed Internet services, more than doubled its net income in the third quarter. Net income in the three months through September rose to $2.11 billion, or 78 cents per share, from $908 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 15 percent to $16.54 billion, blowing past the $16.07 billion expected by analysts.

Merck & Co Inc (MRK) reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit. It earned $1.73 billion, or 56 cents per share, compared with $1.69 billion, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier. Global company revenue fell 4 percent to $11.49 billion in the quarter, below Wall Street expectations of $11.57 billion.

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