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Upgraded GDP Data Boost U.S. Stocks

Investors weigh better-than-expected economic numbers against a rise in oil prices to start the day on an upbeat note.
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Updated from 9:12 a.m. EDT

Stocks in New York opened on a modestly upbeat note Thursday following the release of better-than-anticipated GDP data. The bullish economic read is helping to counter another rise in oil prices.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

is rising 88.5 points to 11,591, and the

S&P 500

is climbing 9.7 points to 1291. The


is tacking on 14.5 points to 2397.

On the economic-data front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis' second-quarter GDP number was revised upward, assuaging fears that the economy is veering toward reflection. The updated number reflected growth of 3.3% rather than an initial reading of 1.9%. The new figure was well ahead of analysts' forecast of 2.7%. Jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 23 came in at 425,000, in line with expectations and down from 435,000 in the previous week.

After the market close Wednesday, struggling mortgage finance company

Fannie Mae


said it's

reorganizing senior management

. Fannie and its sister company,

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Freddie Mac


, have been at the center of the financial storm stemming from mortgage-related credit losses.

Meanwhile, municipal bond insurer


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, which has suffered after losing its triple-A credit status earlier this year, said it would back $184 billion in bonds for Financial Guaranty. The move is likely to send MBIA shares higher, as it demonstrates that the company can secure business despite its credit downgrade.

In corporate earnings, home-products retailer

Sears Holding


announced a quarterly profit that declined from last year and missed analyst expectations.

Elsewhere, construction-equipment manufacturer


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said it's expecting record sales this year on skyrocketing demand in China.



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, on the other hand, cut its 2009 revenue projections on declining U.S. demand for its heavier vehicles.

Shifting to commodities, crude oil was gaining $1.37 to $119.52. This week, traders have been monitoring Tropical Storm Gustav, which could cause supply disruptions along the Gulf Coast. Gold was adding $11.90 to $845.90.

Shell Oil

said it may curtail output as it tries to evacuate workers in its Gulf oil fields by the end of the weekend.


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also announced partial evacuations from drilling operations.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were declining in price. The 10-year was down 7/32, yielding 3.79%, and the 30-year was losing 11/32 to yield 4.4%. The dollar was weakening vs. its major foreign competitors.

Overseas markets were mixed. The FTSE in London and the Nikkei in Japan were trading higher, while the Dax in Frankfurt and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong were losing ground.