Stocks Drop as GDP Misses Expectations, Consumer Confidence Hits Three-Month Low

Michael Teague  |

wall streetThe commerce department released data on Friday that indicated that gross domestic product has grown at an annual rate of 2.5 percent for the first quarter of 2013, while an average of analyst estimates had predicted a 3 percent gain.

Meanwhile, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed consumer confidence at a three-month low for the month of April though the drop, from March’s 78.6 to where it currently stands at 76.4 was ahead of forecasts of 73.5.

The Dow recorded the day’s only gain, advancing 0.08 percent to 14,712.62, lead by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), up 2.30 percent to $20.04. Chevron Corp. (CVX) was up 1.43 percent to $120.21 after the company released earnings that beat expectations by $0.10 per share despite lower crude oil and natural gas prices during the quarter.

Aerospace and defense leader Boeing (BA) was up 1.37 percent to $92.93 and General Electric (GE) also posted a significant gain of 1.28 percent to close at $22.23 as the company announced that its Capital division would be severing ties with gun dealers.

The S&P 500 struggled to stay in positive territory all day, and eventually ended with a 0.18 percent loss to close at 1,582.24. The biggest story on the index was by far JC Penney (JCP), up nearly 11.48 percent to $16.99 by closing on news released late Thursday of billionaire investor George Soros’s substantial 7.9 percent stake in the company. The move was seen as a vote of confidence after CEO Ron Johnson was fired earlier in the month and replaced with his predecessor Mike Ullman, who has cleaned house at the executive level, and tapped the company’s revolving credit in his efforts to effectively turn around Johnson’s disastrous turnaround plan.

Apple was up 2.33 percent to $417.88, though shares have lost nearly 23 percent since the beginning of 2013. The residential construction company DR Horton (DHI) was up 8.76 percent to close at $26.68 on the strength of a rebounding housing market, and, more importantly, a strong earnings report that showed a 49 percent increase in revenues on the prior year.

Meanwhile, AIG (AIG) dropped 3.33 percent to $40.87. News today had it that Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) had hired four of the company’s top executives. Safeway continued its losses, down 4.15 percent to $23.31, and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) was down 3.32 to $12.51.

The Nasdaq recorded the day’s biggest percentage loss, 0.33 percent to 3,279.26. Zynga (ZNGA) games was up 7.66 percent to $3.37, and Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), the small wireless communications provider, was up 3.93 percent to $3.44.

Amazon (AMZN) was among the day’s most surprising losers, down a massive 7.25 percent to $254.81 after the company’s Q1 earnings report showed underperformance in revenue both for the quarter than just concluded, as well as the current one. The results come at the same time as news that the U.S. Senate just voted to pass a new internet sales tax bill.

Chinese search-engine company Baidu (BIDU) was also down nearly 8 percent to $85.02, after Q1 earnings showed the company was nearly 7 percent underneath estimates for net income.

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Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
GE General Electric Company 12.30 0.00 0.00 46,941,742 Trade
CVX Chevron Corporation 117.80 0.14 0.12 6,112,867 Trade
BIDU Baidu Inc. 222.67 5.37 2.47 5,497,462 Trade
GT The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company 24.01 0.30 1.27 1,683,267 Trade
AMZN Inc. 1,882.22 -4.30 -0.23 4,101,722 Trade
DHI D.R. Horton Inc. 44.38 0.06 0.14 2,898,543 Trade
ZNGA Zynga Inc. 3.72 0.02 0.54 5,965,644 Trade
AIG American International Group Inc. 52.58 0.12 0.23 4,425,489 Trade
HPQ HP Inc. 24.54 0.40 1.66 7,523,590 Trade
BA The Boeing Company 346.40 0.42 0.12 3,065,455 Trade
APU AmeriGas Partners L.P. 40.81 -0.08 -0.20 180,456 Trade
JCP J.C. Penney Company Inc. 1.79 0.03 1.70 46,447,762 Trade


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