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Wall Street opens flat as finance ministers meet 

Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street as investors keep a close eye on a meeting of global finance ministers in Moscow.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 18 points to 13,992 shortly after the opening bell Friday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up two points at 1,523. The Nasdaq composite rose four points to 3,202.

Currency policy will be high on the agenda at the meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers. Japan's currency will be of particular interest because the country has been forcing the yen's value lower.

Herbalife rose 12 percent after billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed that he had accumulated a 13 percent stake in the company. Rival financier William Ackman has accused the company of being an elaborate pyramid scheme.

The S&P 500, up 6.7 percent so far this year, is facing strong technical resistance near the 1,525 level. But investors, expecting further gains in the quarter, have held back from locking in profits.

With more than $158 billion in deals announced so far in 2013, merger and acquisition activity has given support to the equity market as it points to healthy valuations and bets on the economic outlook.

"No retracement of this move is positive; it shows underlying support for this market," said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

He said the flurry of mergers and acquisitions should be seen as a tailwind for the market.

"You don't go into M&A if you don't have a positive outlook," Hogan said.

Burger King Worldwide shares jumped 3.7 percent after it reported a 94 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit.

Kraft Foods Group said fourth-quarter revenue likely declined 10.7 percent from a year earlier, largely due to reductions in trade inventories. Its shares fell 2.3 percent in light trading.