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Stocks Rise as S&P 500 Extends Record High

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. indices were rising Friday, extending the S&P 500's record highs and eyeing possible weekly gains.

Markets were being bolstered by the Federal Reserve's supportive policy announcement earlier this week. But further upside remained restricted by the troubles igniting in Iraq.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising 0.3% to 16,964.72. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 1,962.63. The Nasdaq was up 0.07% to 4,362.43. Higher-than-usual volume is expected Friday due to quadruple witching, which refers to the expiration of various stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures. 

European markets were mixed. The FTSE in London rose 0.3% while stocks in Frankfurt and Paris fell less than 1%.

President Barack Obama has sent 300 U.S. Special Operations troops to support the Iraqi army in combatting insurgents from the al-Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). President Obama said additional action is possible if needed, but that combat troops will not be sent to Iraq.

Jeffrey Saut, Raymond James' chief investment strategist, wrote that while Wednesday's "Fed Fling" could carry into Friday's option expiration, he still thinks the 1950-1975 level could offer stiff resistance in the short-term. "While the market's daily internal energy has been rebuilt, the weekly has not," he predicted. "If we do get a pullback, it should be contained at the 1940-1950 level."

Stocks in focus Friday include General Electric (GE), AbbVie (ABBV), Oracle  (ORCL) and Darden Restaurants (DRI).

Oracle was declining 5.2% to $40.31 after the business software maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that missed analysts' estimates. Germany's Siemens  (SI) and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries raised their joint proposal for Alstom following GE's sweetened bid for the French company's energy business. Shire (SHPG), the U.K. drugmaker, rejected a $46.35 billion takeover bid from rival AbbVie. Shares of Shire rose 16.4% to $223.20; AbbVie shares fell 0.3% to $54.05. Darden shares declined 2.6% after the restaurant operator said quarterly profit fell 35%.

The S&P 500 quietly broke a record high Thursday as markets made up for slight losses earlier in the day.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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