U.S. stocks advanced slightly in early trade on Friday after government data showed that US economic activity grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter.

The S&P 500 Index gained 0.88 points, or 0.07 percent, to trade at 1,310.80 at 9:45 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 19.98 points, or 0.16 percent, to trade at 12,190.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.16 percent.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that real Gross Domestic Product, the broadest measure of economic activity, rose at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, higher than the 2.8 percent rate projected last month and against analyst’s estimation of 2.9 percent. In the third quarter, the economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate.

On the corporate front, Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ:ORCL) shares gained 4.04 percent to $33.50 in early trade as the company reported better-than-estimated earnings on late Thursday. Adjusted profit for the third quarter was $2.8 billion or 54 cents a share, up from $1.9 billion or 38 cents a share last year. Revenue rose 37 percent to $8.8 billion. Analysts had expected profit of 50 cents a share on revenue of $8.67 billion.

Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) shares plunged 10.06 percent to $57.64 in early trade, as it guided first quarter guidance below Street view. The BlackBerry maker said it expects first quarter earnings of $1.47 to $1.55 a share and revenue of $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion, while Street predicts profit of $1.65 a share on revenue of $5.64 billion. For full year 2012, the company expects earnings in excess of $7.50 a share, while Street predicts $6.81 a share.

US stocks ended higher on Thursday as investors are shrugged off bad news and focused on some positive developments from the US corporate sector.

The euro declined 0.28 percent to 1.4138 against the dollar the yen fell 0.19 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures declined 0.51 percent to $105.06/barrel and gold futures declined 0.01 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 2.04 points, DAX30 down by 2.75 points and CAC 40 down by 0.55 points.