Fed's reassurance gives stocks a lift

NEW YORK -- Stocks posted big gains Friday after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered reassuring words on the economy and as U.S. growth turned out to be better than expected this spring.

Major indexes all gained more than 1 percent after the government slashed its estimate for second-quarter economic growth, but not by quite as much as economists had expected.

The market had a brief scare in midmorning after Intel Corp. lowered its revenue estimate. There, too, the news wasn't as bad as it could have been. Intel's shares edged higher after resuming trading since the company's new forecast wasn't as bad as the worst estimates circulating among analysts.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product grew at a 1.6 percent rate in the April-to-June period. That's still way down from its earlier estimate of 2.4 percent but not as bad as the 1.4 percent expected by economists.

HP ups 3Par offer to top Dell Inc. bid

SEATTLE -- Hewlett-Packard Co. boosted its bid for 3Par Inc. to $1.88 billion Friday, topping Dell Inc.'s offer by 11 percent and again raising the stakes in the bidding contest for the data-storage company.

The $30-per-share offer from HP came just hours after Dell matched HP's Thursday bid of $27 per share. The latest price is three times what 3Par was trading at before Dell made its first bid last week, for $18 per share, or $1.13 billion.

Dell and 3Par said earlier Friday that 3Par's board had accepted the latest bid from Dell, which only has to match the terms of other offers under its initial agreement with 3Par.

On Friday, 3Par shares surged $6.43, or 25 percent, to $32.46. That's above HP's latest offer price, signaling that investors expect Dell to respond. In a statement, Dell spokesman David Frink said the company will review HP's latest offer and "act in the best interests of our customers, shareholders and long-term value creation."

Southwest to get slots for New York flights

DALLAS -- United and Continental airlines will help Southwest Airlines expand in the New York market.

The move is designed to help United and Continental win approval from antitrust regulators to combine and form the world's largest airline.

United and Continental said Friday they will lease takeoff and landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to Southwest beginning next March.

The airlines said the arrangement was intended to address Justice Department concerns about the proposed United-Continental combination. Southwest plans to start serving Charleston next year. It has not announced any destinations.

P&G jet, CEO safe after gear incident

CINCINNATI -- A Procter & Gamble Co. corporate jet with the CEO aboard landed safely Friday at a Pennsylvania airport after a warning sensor indicated a possible problem with landing gear.

A company spokeswoman said all 13 people aboard were fine. On the plane were a three-person crew and 10 passengers, including Bob McDonald, chairman and CEO of the consumer products giant.