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US stocks turn higher as shutdown drags on

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on October 3, 2013
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on October 3, 2013

US stocks headed higher Friday as the government shutdown entered a fourth day with no end in sight to Washington's political gridlock.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 43.76 points (0.29 percent) at 15,040.24 about an hour into trade.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 7.22 (0.43 percent) to 1,685.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 22.64 (0.60 percent) at 3,796.98.

With official economic data suspended because of the government shutdown Tuesday -- including the Labor Department's September jobs growth and unemployment data that were due Friday -- Washington's drama over the budget and the debt limit hung over the markets.

The stocks indices fell sharply Thursday on signs the budget battle between Democrats and Republicans was evolving into a face-off over raising the debt ceiling by the October 17 deadline. The Dow shed 0.9 percent, closing below the 15,000-mark for the first time in a month .

"There is apt to be some speculation today that Congress will make progress over the weekend in ending the budget impasse and that such progress could lead to a nice relief rally on Monday," said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.moc.

But the reverse could happen, with no progress leading to another downturn on Monday, he said.

Social media companies were creating buzz on Wall Street. One-to-many messaging service Twitter revealed a much-awaited initial public offering plan after markets closed Thursday. The IPO was expected to be the most sought-after since Facebook's market debut in May 2012.

Facebook jumped 2.2 percent after the social networking giant said in a blog it will start selling advertising on its Instagram photo- and video-sharing social network, which competes with Twitter's Vine service.

Union Pacific Corp., operator of the largest railroad network in the US, fell 0.8 percent after updating its third-quarter earnings forecast, below analyst estimates, and announcing it expected flat volumes in the quarter year-over-year.

Electric car company Tesla gained 0.8 percent, after Thursday's 4.2 percent plunge, amid concerns about the safety of the cars sparked by an Internet video of a fire on one of its vehicles.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.64 percent from 2.61 percent late Thursday, while the 30-year yield edged up to 3.72 percent from 3.71 percent. Prices and yields move inversely.

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