* Oil prices dip, but near recent multi-month highs
* Guess shares rally after strong sales
* Vodafone in talks with Verizon to sell out of U.S. venture
* Fast-food workers plan strikes over wages
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.6 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday on
strong economic data and a possible large deal between Vodafone
and Verizon, as a possible Western military strike on Syria
appeared to be delayed for now.
Data showed the U.S. economy grew more quickly than expected
in the second quarter thanks to a surge in exports. The report,
alongside data suggesting a strengthening in job numbers in
August, could bolster the case for the Federal Reserve to soon
wind down a major economic stimulus program that has been a
pillar of the rally in equities this year.
The numbers show the economic recovery may have started in
the first half of the year and the economy is strong enough to
allow for the Fed to scale back its stimulus, said Phil Orlando,
chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New
U.S.-traded shares of Vodafone Group jumped 8.4
percent to $31.89 after the company said it was in talks with
Verizon Communications to sell its 45 percent stake in
their U.S. joint venture, Verizon Wireless. Verizon shares rose
3.4 percent to $48.15.
Merger and acquisition activity "tells us companies have a
lot of firepower, the ability to use cash, a lot of debt they
could utilize and currency for stock deals, all that is
positive" for the market, Orlando said.
Retaliation over the Syrian government's alleged chemical
weapons attack on civilians could be delayed, not only by the
U.N. weapons inspectors' continued presence in Syria, but by the
Obama administration's efforts to coordinate with international
partners and growing demands for consultation with U.S.
"There's a lot of uncertainty as Western powers have taken a
step back, so the market is encouraged of some stepping back
from the brink," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment
officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28.74 points,
or 0.19 percent, to 14,853.25, the S&P 500 gained 4.43
points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,639.39 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 22.033 points, or 0.61 percent, to 3,615.382.
Brent crude fell 0.5 percent as traders reassessed
supply risks emerging in the Middle East, but prices remained
near their highest since February.
US Airways Group Inc, American Airlines and the U.S.
Justice Department said on Wednesday they were open to settling
a court fight over whether the two companies should be allowed
to merge. US Airways shares rose 3.1 percent to $15.81.
Guess Inc shares jumped 11.3 percent to $30.39 a day
after its second-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates,
bucking a trend of falling sales for apparel retailers.
Fast-food workers from McDonald's, Wendy's
Restaurants, Burger King Worldwide and others
across the United States are expected to stage their largest
strike to date on Thursday in an almost year-long campaign to
raise wages in the service sector.