* Q4 GDP increased at 1 pct annual rate
* J.C. Penney jumps after results
* Gap down after profit misses estimates
* Indexes up: Dow 0.57 pct, S&P 0.57 pct, Nasdaq 0.80 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Feb 26 (Reuters) - Wall Street was higher on Friday morning after data showed that a slowdown in U.S. economic growth was not as bad as expected.
Gross domestic product increased at a 1 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 0.7 percent pace. The economy grew at a rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter.
The market was also lifted by a near 4 percent spike in crude prices.
Global stocks rose as China reassured world leaders at the G20 summit that it would not devalue its currency again but look at other means to support its economy.
“Today’s market is going to be all about oil and economic data,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York, adding that China’s reassurance on the yuan was also a positive.
“There’s a good possibility that we could close the week on a high note,” he added, referring to the S&P 500 closing above 1,951, above its 50-day moving average, on Thursday.
The S&P is on track for its best two-week performance since last February, staging a recovery from one of the worst starts to a year.
At 9:37 a.m. ET (1437 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 94.51 points, or 0.57 percent, at 16,791.8, the S&P 500 was up 11.17 points, or 0.57 percent, at 1,962.87 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 36.64 points, or 0.8 percent, at 4,618.85.
Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by the 1.4 percent rise in the energy sector.
Also scheduled on Friday is a report on U.S. consumer spending, which is likely to have risen 0.3 percent in January. The data is slated for release at 10 a.m.
The data will give investors a bearing on the state of the economy as they watch for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates.
The central bank raised rates in December and Fed Chair Janet Yellen has pointed to a gradual increase through 2016 if data shows the economy is strong enough to withstand a move away from near-zero rates.
Shares of J.C. Penney were up 14.6 percent at $9.59 after the department store operator reported better-than-expected revenue.
Gap was down 4 percent at $26.49 after its full-year profit forecast missed estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,041 to 631. On the Nasdaq, 1,601 issues rose and 580 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and 14 lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)