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US STOCKS-Wall St edges up, on track for strong weekly gains

Ryan Vlastelica
Friday, 27 Dec 2013 | 9:48 AM ET

* Investors seek catalysts with indexes at record levels

* Dow on track for best two-week period since June 2012

* Textron to buy Beechcraft for $1.4 billion in cash

* Twitter shares slump after massive rally

* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct

NEW YORK, Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday as the market's recent upward bias continued, though investors were reluctant to make big bets after a rally that repeatedly took major indexes to all-time highs.

Trading volume is expected to be light, as it has been all week. Many participants are still out for the Christmas holiday, and there are few catalysts to pull traders into the market.

Equities have been on a tear lately, with the Dow notching its sixth straight advance on Thursday, the longest daily streak for the blue chip average since March.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 are on track for a second straight week of solid gains, with the S&P looking to post its best two-week period since July while the Dow posts its best two weeks since June 2012.

"It is very quiet, but we still have a slight bias to the upside," said John Brady, senior vice president at R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago. "There's nothing meaningful to trade off of, so the market will probably just drift around today, maybe go slightly higher."

While further gains may be difficult to come by amid a dearth of trading catalysts, there will likely be a floor under equity prices as long as the Federal Reserve continues its stimulus.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 34.75 points, or 0.21 percent, at 16,514.63. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.54 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,843.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.13 points, or 0.08 percent, at 4,170.31.

For the week, the Dow is up 1.8 percent, the S&P is up 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq is up 1.6 percent.

The S&P 500 has soared more than 29 percent this year, on track for its best year since 1997, largely due to the Fed's stimulus. The Dow has gained 25.8 percent in 2013 while the Nasdaq has jumped 38 percent.

In company news, Textron Inc agreed to buy aircraft maker Beechcraft Corp for $1.4 billion in cash. Shares of Textron rose 0.9 percent to $36.51.

General Motors Co's China joint venture will recall close to 1.5 million vehicles due to potential safety issues in one of the biggest recalls in the world's biggest auto market. Shares of GM dipped 0.9 percent to $41.13.

Nike Inc rose 0.7 percent to $78.75, helping to boost the Dow. The company is up about 53 percent thus far this year.

On the downside, momentum favorite Twitter Inc fell 4.1 percent to $70.28. However, the social media stock, which has soared its going public earlier this year, is still up more than 17 percent on the week.

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TXT
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NASDAQ
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