NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks sustained gains in late morning trading Friday but were easing from session highs. The markets advanced after the third estimate of U.S. second-quarter GDP was revised higher with an apparent increase in business confidence playing an important role.
Positive earnings reports from companies such as Nike (NKE) also helped lead the markets higher.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average
The biggest contributor to the upward revision to overall GDP was business investment, noted Paul Ferley, RBC Economics' assistant chief economist. The growth rate for this component was raised to 9.7% from a previously estimated 8.4%, which added an additional 0.2 percentage points to overall second-quarter GDP growth. The U.S. economy expanded by 4.6% in the second quarter, the government said Friday, matching estimates and coming in higher than the prior estimate of 4.2%.
"I would take encouragement from this strengthening in business investment," he said. "It implies businesses are confident enough to spend and invest. This reinforces the impression provided by the sustained solid gains in employment so far this year." Ferley said Friday's GDP numbers are consistent with his view that growth in business investment will rise rise around 6.5% this year and 8% in 2015, up from a 3% gain in 2013.
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The final reading on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for September held steady at 84.6.
Apple (AAPL) shares were recovering after playing a substantial role behind the Nasdaq's pronounced drop on Thursday. Apple released a new update late Thursday that the tech giant said would repair the problems caused by software it released Wednesday morning. Shares were up 1.77%.
U.S. stocks nosedived Thursday in their biggest down day since July 31 as investors reacted to news of bombings in the Middle East and heightened terrorist threat levels on U.S. and French soil. The negativity only exacerbated an end-of-quarter sell-off already in progress. Apple shares ended Thurday's session down nearly 4%.