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Stocks open higher; investors seek Fed clarity

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2013 file photo, Trader F. Hill Creekmore works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stock markets fell Friday Sept. 20, 2013, two days after the Fed announced it would keep its unprecedented stimulus in place. Public holidays kept trading muted in Asia. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market opened slightly higher as investors sought more clarity on the direction of Federal Reserve policy.

They may get that Friday after a handful of Fed officials speak.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11 points to 15,647 in early trading Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up two points to 1,724. The Nasdaq composite rose seven points to 3,797.

The central bank this week shocked markets by leaving in place an $85 billion bond-buying program. Most economists had expected the Fed to begin trimming its buying with the economy improving.

The Kansas City Fed president will give a speech, and so will the St. Louis Fed president.

Darden Restaurants fell $1.73, or 3 percent, to $47.57 after the company reported sharply lower quarterly profit.