NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 4, 2013 in New York City. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped over 100 points during trading before bouncing back to approximately 15,900; the market peaked at a record high last month at over 16,000 points. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks rose in early trading Friday after the U.S. reported unexpectedly strong economic growth during the third quarter. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index pushed further into record territory. The S&P 500 is up 27 percent so far this year. If the gains hold the market could have its biggest year since 1997.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow was up 62 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,240 in the first 40 minutes of trading. The S&P 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,816 and the Nasdaq composite added 19 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,077.
GDP: The U.S. economy grew between July and September at the fastest pace since late 2011. The Commerce Department reported growth of 4.1 percent, much stronger than most economists expected, thanks in part to a stronger consumer spending. It was the third and final revision from the government for the third quarter. More important still will be what kind of growth occurred during the final quarter of the year, when Americans typically shift their spending into high gear. Many economists believe that growth in this quarter has slowed to as low as 2 percent.
STRONG WEEK: The Dow is up 3 percent this week alone and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are up about 2 percent. Investors have applauded the Federal Reserve's decision to start gradually cutting back on its economic stimulus program in January as well as last several days of positive economic data.
RED HAT DANCE: The software company Red Hat jumped $7.90, or 16 percent, to $56.90. The open-source software developer reported an adjusted profit of 42 cents per share, well ahead of Wall Street estimates of earnings of 35 cents per share.
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