Stocks Opened Higher after GDP Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday after the data on U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 181.48 points, or 1.13%, to 16,251.12. The S&P 500 rose 19.90 points, or 1.05%, to 1,913.26. The Nasdaq Composite was up 49.12 points, or 1.09%, to 4,555.79.

The U.S. economy’s growth slowed sharply in the final three months of 2015 to a 0.7 percent annual rate. Consumers reduced spending, businesses cut back on investment and global problems trimmed exports. The government’s estimate Friday of the economy’s expansion in the October-December period was less than half the 2 percent annual growth rate in gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2015.

U.S. paychecks increased moderately in the final three months of last year. The employment cost index, which tracks wages and benefits, rose 0.6 percent in the October-December quarter, the Labor Department said. That’s the same as the previous three months.

Oil rose towards $35 a barrel on Friday, a gain of some 25 percent from the 12-year lows seen earlier in January, on prospects that a deal between major exporters to cut production could help reduce one of the worst oil gluts in history. Brent was up 88 cents at $34.77 a barrel by 1433 GMT on Friday, after gaining 79 cents, or 2.4 percent, on Thursday.

Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) on Friday posted quarterly adjusted earnings that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, but sales fell short of its mark. The appliance maker’s fourth-quarter net earnings were $180 million, or $2.28 a share, more than doubling from $81 million, or $1.02 a share, a year ago. Sales were $5.56 billion, compared with $6 billion in the year-earlier period.

Chevron Corp reported a fourth-quarter loss on Friday as the oil producer grappled with how best to handle plunging crude prices. The company posted a net loss of $588 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $3.47 billion, or $1.85 per share, in the year-ago period.

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