NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened higher Friday after data showed the U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the third quarter.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter before the 16-day partial government shutdown, up from the previous estimate of 3.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
In the second quarter, the U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent rate, the department added.
On the previous trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to finish at a new record closing high while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped as investors chose to stay on the sidelines after a huge rally spurred by the Federal Reserve' s prudential tapering of its bond purchases.
The policy shift came after a string of robust economic data and diminishing fiscal restraints.
The Senate on Wednesday passed a two-year budget plan crafted by bipartisan negotiators following an approval by the House of Representatives, which helped eliminate the possibility of a government shutdown in the next two years.
However, the federal government still faces another deadline. The government could run out of borrowing capacity to pay its bills in February if lawmakers do not raise the debt ceiling in time.
In corporate news, Facebook shares dropped 1.18 percent to trade at 54.40 dollars a share. The social media network will join the S&P 500 after the close of trading on Friday.
Shortly after the opening bell, the blue-chip Dow rose 52.08 points, or 0.32 percent, to 16,231.16. The S&P 500 gained 4.32 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,813.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 10.31 points, or 0.25 percent, to 4,068.45.