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Stocks end the day with small gains

A street sign for Wall Street hangs outside

A street sign for Wall Street hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Sept. 16, 2013. Credit: Getty Images / John Moore

Stocks ended the day up slightly Friday, as investors evaluate a report suggesting economic growth was stronger than expected in the first quarter.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 44.9 points, about 0.3 percent, at 17,873.2. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained nearly 9 points, about 0.4 percent, to 2,099.1, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 31.7 points, about 0.7 percent, to 4,933.5.

OIL PRICES: As markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude was up 2 cents at $49.50 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, the international standard Brent crude was down 20 cents at $49.39 a barrel.

REVISED: The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy was a bit stronger in the first quarter than it initially believed. The agency said the national gross domestic product grew 0.8 percent in the first three months of the year, above its original estimate of 0.5 percent.

The department said the housing market did better than it thought while business investment and trade wasn’t as bad. Experts think economic growth will pick up in the current quarter and rise to around 2 percent.

MOVERS: Consumer stocks rose the most Friday. Ulta Salon jumped nearly 10 percent on strong first-quarter results.

In deal news machinery maker Terex plunged 19 percent after Chinese rival Zoomlion abandoned its months-old takeover attempt.

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