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Stocks get into the holiday spirit

Stocks get into the holiday spirit
Friday, December 20, 2013 - 8:59am

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Markets got a dose of holiday cheer Friday after the U.S. government said economic activity ramped up significantly more than previously thought in the third quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all opened higher Friday. The Dow and S&P hit new all-time highs in the process.

Gross domestic product -- the broadest measure of economic activity -- grew at a 4.1% annual pace in the third quarter, up from the 2.8% pace that was originally reported in November. The revised GDP figure shows the highest rate of growth for the economy since the last quarter of 2011 and comes just days after the Federal Reserve started pulling back on its economic stimulus by $10 billion per month.

In corporate news, BlackBerry shares were down slightly in volatile trading. The company reported a steeper-than-expected $4.4 billion loss and a 56% drop in quarterly sales.

The struggling smart phone maker also announced a five-year strategic partnership with electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn. Still, interim CEO John Chen was optimistic during a conference call with analysts and expressed confidence that the company could turn around.

U.S. stocks finished flat Thursday, though the Dow managed to eke out a new high - its 46th record close of the year.

December is often a good month for stocks -- a trend that has been dubbed the Santa Claus rally.

Gold extended its decline Friday, a day after dropping to a three-year low. Prices have plunged 30% this year, the worst annual performance for the precious metal in decades.

European markets were mostly higher in afternoon trading, while Asian markets ended mixed.

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