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Stocks Rise Despite Escalating Tensions in Iraq

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's Friday the 13th and things aren't always what they seem. Despite pointing to a weak start to the day in premarket trading, U.S. indices gained some early-morning momentum to open in the green, even with macroeconomic pressures and light economic incentive undercutting confidence. 

The S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 1,936.94, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to 16,777.41, and the Nasdaq rallied 0.5% to 4,316.95. These aren't stellar gains but a promising trend after two consecutive days of losses

The FTSE stumbled 1% after Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney said he expects a British interest rate increase to come sooner than expected. Economists had expected a rate hike no sooner than the first quarter of 2015.

The situation in Iraq is fracturing as Islamist rebel forces moved closer to Baghdad after capturing two more towns overnight. Contributing to unease, President Obama said Thursday that U.S. military strikes against Sunni Islamist militants are under consideration. Though oil prices have soared on impending conflict, markets have fallen.

On the homefront, the Labor Department said U.S. producer prices posted a surprising drop in May, down 0.2% from April's 0.6% increase (its largest gain in 18 months). Economists had expected a more tempered 0.1% increase. 

The University of Michigan Sentiment Index for June declined to the lowest level in three months and came in below economist's forecasts.

Priceline (PCLN - Get Report) said it's buying online restaurant reservation company OpenTable (OPEN) for $2.6 billion. 

Priceline said it would pay $103 a share, a 46% premium to OpenTable's closing price Thursday of $70.43. OpenTable soared 47% on Friday to $103.53. Priceline fell 1.8% to 1,204.21.

Intel (INTC) shares rose Friday after the company upwardly revised its second-quarter revenue guidance, noting business demand for PCs has been strong. The stock rose 7.2% to $29.97.

Struggling clothing retailer Express (EXPR) was popping after being on the receiving end of M&A interest. Sycamore Partners, currently a 9.9% stakeholder, said it is doing due diligence before determining an offer price. Shares were up 20.2% to $16.28.

Finisar (FNSR) was dropping 21.7% to $19.78 after posting adjusted quarterly earnings of 36 cents a share, 2 cents below what analysts expected.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.

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