Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened slightly higher in thin trade on Friday, as equity markets remained supported after the Federal Reserve said interest rates would remain low for some time, although concerns over events in Iraq persisted.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 Jones Industrial Average added 0.13%, the S&P 500 edged 0.10% higher, while the NASDAQ Composite eased up 0.02%.
U.S. equities strengthened after the Fed gave no indication of when interest rates could start to rise at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday. In addition, the Fed’s forecast of where interest rates might reach in the long term fell from 4% to 3.75%.
The central bank cut its bond purchases by $10 billion a month, to $35 billion, saying there was "sufficient underlying strength" in the U.S. economy to continue tapering.
Investors remained cautious however as the conflict between Sunni Islamist insurgents and Iraqi army forces continued on Friday.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he was sending up to 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq and that he was prepared to take "targeted" military action later if deemed necessary.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) shares edged up 0.11% after Siemens (XETRA:SIEGn) and its partners improved their offer for Alstom (PARIS:ALSO)''s energy assets at $19.9 billion, raising the stakes in the takeover battle with the U.S. power company.
American Apparel (NYSE:APP) surged 4.33% after soaring over 15% on Thursday when the clothing maker said it was replacing founder and chief executive officer, Dov Charney, following an investigation into misconduct.
In the financial sector, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) gained 0.32% following reports the U.S. lender will face a U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about the quality of loans tied to $850 million in residential mortgage-backed securities.
On the downside, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) plunged 5.01% after saying late Thursday that fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales came out below analysts'' estimates.
AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) added to losses, down 0.44%, after the U.S. drugmaket''s latest offer to buy U.K. rival Shire (LONDON:SHP) for as much as $46.5 billion was rejected.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.06%, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.13%, Germany''s DAX rose 0.22%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 gained 0.34%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng added 0.11%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.08%.