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US STOCKS-Wall Street dips after GDP data; Chevron lifts Dow

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Apr 26, 2013 15:50 hrs

* GDP shy of expectations, consumer confidence dips vs March

* Amazon weighs on S&P after results; Chevron helps Dow

* Major averages on track to post solid gains on the week

* Dow up 0.1 percent, S&P down 0.2 percent, Nasdaq down 0.4 percent

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks mostly slipped on Friday as the latest round of economic data indicated that growth fell short of expectations in the latest quarter.

Amazon.com Inc tumbled after results, pressuring both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, though gains at Hewlett-Packard Co and Chevron Corp kept the Dow in modestly positive territory. Despite the day's decline, major indexes were on track for a week of solid gains.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent rate in the first quarter, below estimates for growth of 3 percent but above the 0.4 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The data could raise doubts about the ability of the economy to absorb government spending cuts and higher taxes, and may fuel speculation on the possibility of more Federal Reserve measures to boost growth, or at least keep its current stimulus plans in place.

"The moderate move to the downside isn't out of line with the GDP data as light as it was," said Steve Sosnick, equity-risk manager at Timber Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich, Connecticut. "It wasn't so great, but not bad enough to derail the freight train the market has been on."

The S&P is 1.7 percent higher on the week while the Dow is up 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq is up 2.3 percent.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 76.4 from 78.6 in March, although it topped economists' expectations for 73.2 and improved upon the preliminary April reading of 72.3.

Amazon shed 7.1 percent to $255.25 and was the biggest drag on both the S&P and Nasdaq 100 after revenue growth slowed in the first quarter as the world's largest Internet retailer struggled overseas, even as margins jumped on lower shipping expenses.

Chevron rose 1.1 percent to $119.78 after the energy giant posted earnings that beat expectations, helped by foreign currency gains.

"In general, earnings haven't been blockbusters, but the fact that we've had a sharp rally through the season tells you the market is relatively sanguine about what has come out," Sosnick said.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 15.39 points, or 0.10 percent, at 14,716.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.70 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,581.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 13.35 points, or 0.41 percent, at 3,276.64.

Hewlett-Packard gained 3.2 percent to $20.21, helping to keep the Dow in the green.

Shares of Starbucks Corp, the world's biggest coffee chain, slipped 1 percent to $59.85 after it reported a quarterly profit that matched Wall Street estimates, although revenue was slightly below expectations.

The PHLX housing sector index gained 1.2 percent and was on track for its sixth consecutive advance, getting a lift from D.R. Horton Inc and Weyerhaeuser Co after the No. 1 U.S. homebuilder and forest products company reported earnings.

D.R. Horton shares jumped 7.3 percent to $26.31 though Weyerhaeuser slipped 0.8 percent to $31.12.

With 51 percent of the S&P having reported, 69 percent have beaten earnings expectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994 and slightly over the 67 percent beat rate over the past four quarters.

However, revenue has been lackluster, with only 42 percent topping analyst forecasts, well below the 62 percent average since 2002 and the 52 percent beat rate for the last four quarters.

Analysts now see earnings growth of 3.6 percent this quarter, up from expectations of 1.5 percent at the start of the month.




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