US STOCKS-Wall St set to rise at open as rosy GDP boosts confidence

Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:21am EST
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* Red Hat gains after earnings, outlook

* Blackberry tumbles after results

* Final GDP reading tops expectations

* Futures up: Dow 20 pts, S&P 3.4 pts, Nasdaq 8.75 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open higher Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track for its biggest weekly climb in two months, as rosy U.S. growth data likely boosts investor confidence that the economy can support a wind-down of Federal Reserve stimulus.

Gross domestic product grew at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest pace in almost two years, and higher than the 3.6 percent pace reported earlier this month. Business spending was also stronger than previously estimated.

"Maybe it's not going to impact the fourth quarter (GDP) but it can certainly lift 2014. The consensus is moving that way, we are looking towards improved economic strength as we move into 2014," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

"The change is the fact equities are up on this news, maybe even just a month ago they would have been down on this news with the feeling this means the Fed is going to tighten or taper aggressively."   Continued...