U.S. stocks opened higher Friday, with the S&P 500 extending its record rally, as major stock indices pointed to end the week with gains.
The broader S&P 500 touched a fresh record intraday high minutes after the opening bell, extending its record run into a third straight session.
The benchmark index' s recent record rally was boosted by "dovish" remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen following the bank' s two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.
Yellen downplayed concerns about rising inflation, saying the recent uptick in consumer prices is "noisy," while emphasizing the Fed has no set timing for interest rate hike which depends on economic data.
The Fed announced Wednesday that it will continue to taper its monthly bond purchases by another 10 billion U.S. dollars next month and lowered its U.S. growth forecast for this year, while reiterating that it is appropriate to keep its benchmark short-term interest rates near zero "for a considerable time" after the bond purchase program ends.
No major data are due on Friday, nor are there any major corporate earnings. But the Friday session marks what is known as "quadruple witching" when futures and options contracts on indexes and individual stocks expire on the same day, which often witnesses increased trading volume and volatility.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34.74 points, or 0.21 percent, to 16,956.20. The S&P 500 added 2.63 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,962.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.59 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,361.92.