- U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday, as renewed optimism over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery supported equities, while markets still eyed the release of a U.S. report on consumer sentiment later in the day.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 rose 0.32%, the S&P 500 gained 0.40%, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.44%.

Official data earlier showed that U.S. personal spending rose 0.3% in February, in line with expectations, Personal spending in January was revised down to a 0.2% gain from a previously estimated 0.4% increase.

A separate report showed that the core U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index remained unchanged at 0.1% last month, in line with expectations.

The data came after economic reports on Thursday showed that U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest level since late November last week and that U.S. economic fourth quarter growth was revised higher.

The upbeat reports added to hopes that the slowdown in U.S. economic activity seen at the start of the year would be temporary.

In the financial sector, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) climbed 0.82% after a U.S. judge said the lender should win dismissal of a Justice Department lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about the quality of loans tied to $850 million in mortgage-backed securities.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) added to gains, up 0.55%, amid reports the social media giant is working on projects to deliver the Internet to underserved areas by building drones, satellites and lasers.

Also in the Internet sector, Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) advanced 0.79% after announcing that director John Hayes, who joined the company in 2012, won’t seek re-election at the company''s shareholder meeting in June.

Elsewhere, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw shares rally 1.24% after launching on Thursday Office applications available for iPad users from Apple''s (NASDAQ:AAPL) app store. Apple shares were down 0.07% at the open of the U.S. trading session.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares surged 2.33% following reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had closed its investigation into fire accidents of the electric-car maker''s Model S vehicles.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.73%, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.31%, Germany''s DAX jumped 0.95%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 added 0.17%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng rallied 1.06%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.50%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release revised data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment.

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