(RTTNews) - With traders reacting positively to upbeat U.S. economic data, stocks have moved modestly higher in early trading on Friday. The major averages have climbed into positive territory, adding to the slim gains posted in the previous session.
The major averages have pulled back off their highs for the young session but currently remain positive. The Dow is up 11.25 points or 0.1 percent at 13,114.93, the Nasdaq is up 10.72 points or 0.4 percent at 2,996.84 and the S&P 500 is up 1.48 points or 0.1 percent at 1,414.45.
The early strength on Wall Street comes on the heels of the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than expected U.S. GDP growth in the third quarter.
The report showed that U.S. gross domestic product rose by 2.0 percent in the third quarter following a 1.3 percent increase in the second quarter. Economists had been expecting third quarter GDP to increase by about 1.8 percent.
The stronger than expected GDP growth reflected positive contributions from consumer spending, federal government spending, and residential fixed investment.
However, disappointing earnings news from Apple (AAPL) is limiting the upside for the markets, as the iPad and iPhone maker reported weaker than expected fiscal fourth quarter earnings despite reporting stronger than expected revenue growth. Apple also issued downbeat guidance for its fiscal first quarter.
Online retailer Amazon (AMZN) reported a third quarter loss that was wider than analysts had expected. The company's net sales also trailed expectations.
Merck (MRK) reported better than expected third quarter earnings, although the drug giant's revenues fell by more than analysts had anticipated. Looking Ahead, Merck said 2012 revenues are still projected to be at or near 2011 levels on a constant currency basis.
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Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in early trading, although strength is visible among telecom, networking, and semiconductor stocks.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region came under pressure during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 1.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 1.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside over the course of the trading day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.8 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are regaining some ground after coming under pressure in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.7 basis points at 1.791 percent.