Stocks are modestly higher after the government reported a milder-than-expected drop in gross domestic product.
The Commerce Department says GDP, the widely followed measure of the economy, shrank at a 3.8 percent pace in the final three months of 2008. That compares with a 0.5 percent decline in the previous quarter.
Friday's reading is much better than the 5.4 percent drop economists expected. Still, the figure could be revised lower in the months ahead -- and some analysts believe the economy is contracting in the current quarter at an even faster pace.
In the first few minutes of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average is up about 30 points at the 8,179.51 level. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 3 at 849, and the Nasdaq composite index is up 10 at 1,518.
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