US STOCKS-Wall St climbs on GDP data; heavy volume expected

Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:58am EST
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* Red Hat gains after earnings, outlook

* Blackberry up after premarket tumble following results

* Final GDP reading tops expectations

* Indexes up: Dow 0.46 pct, S&P 0.54 pct, Nasdaq 0.92 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on pace for its best week in five months, as an unexpectedly strong report on U.S. growth boosted investor confidence that the economy could handle 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.

"It's very surprising, it's a disconnect, it doesn't make sense, yet that is what the number is and you see what the market is doing, you get a little bit of euphoria," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

Volume is expected to be active, as investors deal with the last "quadruple witching" day of the year, with the quarterly expiration and settlement of December contracts for stock options, stock index options, stock index futures and single stock futures.   Continued...