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Stocks Turn Higher Despite Growth Contraction; Barnes & Noble Surges

Stocks in this article: ^DJI^GSPC^IXICMONGMGOOG

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Benchmark U.S. stock indices turned higher early Wednesday as investors considered rising geopolitical tensions and soft U.S. economic data.

Durable goods orders for May fell by 1%; economists were expecting a flat reading. The final revision of first-quarter GDP showed a contraction of 2.9%; economists forecast GDP to shrink at an annual pace of 1.8%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 16,849.54, while the S&P 500 was higher by 0.2% to 1,953.61. The Nasdaq jumped 0.2% to4,359.30.  

U.S. markets fell from their intraday highs Tuesday amid flaring Middle East and Eastern Europe tensions.


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European and Asian stocks declined Wednesday, as rising tensions in the Middle East as well as Ukraine rattled investors.

In eastern Ukraine, fighting has reportedly spiked even after the call for a cease-fire between the government and pro-Russian rebels. Western powers are now warning Russia of new sanctions if measures to restore calm are not carried out expeditiously.

In western Iraq, at least 57 civilians were killed during airstrikes carried out by Syrian warplanes, as the country ramps up support to Baghdad's Shiite-controlled government to battle Sunni insurgents, according to reports.

Companies making the headlines Wednesday include Google (GOOG), GoPro, General Motors (GM) and Monsanto (MON). Google could provide an Android update, and unveil wearable gadgets and so-called smart home devices at its two-day developer conference, which begins Wednesday in San Francisco. The initial public offering of GoPro, the tiny camera maker, is expected to price later Wednesday. A fund set up by GM to compensate victims of crashes linked to defective ignition switches could offer payments for anyone injured or killed in a crash in which the car's air bags didn't deploy, according to the Journal.

Monsanto, the seeds giant, was gaining 4.8% to $126.41 after announcing a $10 billion share buyback plan and hiking the lower end of its full-year earnings expectations by a dime to $5.10 to $5.20 a share. Barnes & Noble (BKS) shares rose almost 10% to $22.57 after the bookseller said its board agreed to split the company's retail bookstores and Nook media business into two separate public companies.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

June 25 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Iraqi, Ukrainian Tensions Erase Markets' Intraday Record Highs

European Stocks, Asian Shares Fall on Iraq Fears

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