Stocks Gain, U.S. Growth Hints at 'Santa Claus' Rally

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. markets could be setting up for a Santa Claus rally after the data released showed the U.S. economy expanded at its fastest pace since late 2011 as consumers pushed up spending, a key driver of U.S. growth.

The Commerce Department reported that third-quarter 2013 gross domestic product grew 4.1% year-over-year, a bump higher from a previous reading of 3.6%, and as personal consumption increased 2%. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 3.6% gain.

  • The S&P 500 was gaining 0.74% to 1,823.03, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was adding 0.64% to 16,282.60 and the Nasdaq was climbing 1.19% to 4,106.49.
  • Major indices were poised for weekly gains as increasing confidence in underlying economic strength was punctuated by the Fed's plan of $10 billion tapering of economic stimulus starting in January.
  • Smartphone maker BlackBerry reported a third-quarter net loss of 67 cents a share, compared to analysts' expectations of a loss of 43 cents a share. Revenue of $1.2 billion missed consensus by $460 million. Still, details of a new deal with Foxconn inspired hope the company could turn itself around. Shares were surging 14.56% to $7.15.
  • Walgreen recorded first-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, in line with analysts' expectations. Revenue of $18.3 billion was 5.9% higher than the year-ago quarter. Shares were popping 3.3% to $58.82.

--Written by Andrea Tse and Keris Alison Lahiff.