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Pre-Market Primer: GDP Falls Short, but Consumer Spending Is Still Strong


The economy grew by less than forecast.

Stock futures declined today as the US economy grew by less than expected, according to a preliminary estimate by the government.

The US economy grew at a 2.5% pace in the first there months of 2013 as consumer spending rose 3.2% -- the fastest rate in two years, a hike in the payroll tax and higher gas prices notwithstanding. Economists expected a 3% GDP rise after the fourth quarter's slow 0.4% growth. This report will be tweaked further in the next two months.

Stock futures retreated this morning before the GDP reoprt. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are down 0.19% at 14,625 and S&P (INDEXSP:.INX) futures sank 0.24% to 1,577.90. Futures on the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) index sank 0.33% to 2,834.50.

Also on today's economic calendar, the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey results for April will come out at 9:55 a.m. The index is expected to come in slightly above the flash estimate at 73.5, down slightly from March's 78.6.

Profits in the first quarter fell for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) 37% to $0.18 per share as revenues rose 22% to $16.07 billion.Though the company's results handily exceeded expectations, Amazon has a habit of growing revenue and market share at the expense of profits. Shares fell back 2.27% to $268.41 in pre-market trading.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) shares fell 1.9% after the company reported a 12% rise in profits to $0.48 per share, meeting expectations. Revenue for the past quarter missed however. Sales in the US rose 7% despite the rise in payroll taxes. European sales fell 2%. Asia saw the strongest growth at 8%.

Samsung (KRX:005930) reported a 42% rise in profits in the past quarter to $6.4 billion, an all-time record for the company. IDC, a technology research firm, released a statement showing that in the first quarter of the year, Samsung maintained the top position in mobile phone market share, shipping more handsets than the next four vendors combined, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Shares of JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) jumped 7.6% after a regulatory filing revealed that George Soros took a sizeable stake in the struggling retailer.

Consumer prices in Japan fell 0.9%, highlighting the Bank of Japan's fight against deflation. The central bank updated its expected date for hitting the 2% inflation target to two years from now, and it will not add to its already massive asset purchase program. Japanese stocks declined slightly today and the yen strengthened to 98.5 on the dollar.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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