US STOCKS-Wall St rises slightly despite weak GDP report
* U.S. economy shrank in Q1; durable orders fall
* Monsanto rallies after results; General Mills lower
* Medical Action almost doubles, Owens & Minor to buy
* Dow up 0.2 pct; S&P 500 up 0.3 pct; Nasdaq up 0.4 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Wednesday as investors continued to find value in equities over other asset classes despite the latest economic data coming in below expectations.
The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter at a 2.9 percent annual rate, a much steeper pace than previously estimated, though activity was affected by a harsh winter, and there are indications that growth has since rebounded. In another negative data point, U.S. orders for durable goods unexpectedly fell 1 percent in May.
Futures initially fell on the news, but Wall Street showed signs of strength in early trading. The Dow and the S&P 500 remain within striking distance of record levels.
"As long as investors believe the economy will keep growing, and everyone expects growth in the second quarter, the lesser evil will be to buy equities at a modestly higher valuation, since bonds and cash don't represent better values," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland. Continuación...