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Pre-Market Primer: US GDP Beats Expectations; Tech Earnings Are Amazing but Underwhelming

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GDP grew by 2% in the last quarter

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Unimpressive earnings from consumer powerhouses Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and weak Asian economic data is driving a global sell-off today.
Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures slipped 0.48% to 12,993.00, S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures dropped 0.48% to 1,401.50. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.12% to 2,644.75.
The US economy grew by more than expected in the third quarter. GDP grew by 2.0% on a quarterly basis, according to the Fed's first estimate of GDP. Growth was only 1.3% in the second quarter.
The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey will be released later this morning, Economists expect the index to remain relatively flat at 83 for October. The previous preliminary reading of 83.1 was the highest the index has been since 2007.
Apple's profit grew by 24% to $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per share in its fiscal fourth quarter. While this is incredible for almost any company, Wall Street expected more. Weak iPad sales were pre-announced, so the unexpectedly "bad" results were already baked in. Since yesterday's close, Apple shares are up over 2.5%.
Apple isn't the only tech giant on a tear. Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) reported profit growth of 91% in the third quarter. The Galaxy S III smartphone was a major profit driver, but with competitors releasing high-end smartphones, Samsung "expects market competition to intensify." Despite the company's breakout growth, Samsung shares declined by 2.7% in Seoul.
Amazon posted its first loss in almost a decade. Its net loss was $274 million, or $0.60 per share. Investors seem to be forgiving, however. Amazon has a tendency to reinvest its profits into expanding its business and gaining market share. The company's ill-fated investment in LivingSocial, accounted for $169 million of Amazon's loss.
Asian and European equities traded lower today. Spanish unemployment hit a record high of 25.02% in the third quarter, up from 24.6% in the second. Spain hasn't had worse unemployment since 1976. The United States has a similar unemployment rate during the Great Depression.
Business confidence in Italy's manufacturing and mining sector unexpectedly fell to 87.6. If it's the worst of times in Spain and Italy, Germans are increasingly looking towards the best of times. German consumer confidence rose to a five-year high of 6.3 this month, up from 6.1 in September.
Despite the political opposition's stonewalling of a crucial financing bill, Japan announced that it will add 750 billion yen to its fiscal stimulus program. Japan's finance minister said that the government will run out of money if the opposition doesn't allow a financing bill to pass. Some of the extra stimulus will come from discretionary funds.
Attorneys General of New York and Connecticut have subpoenaed nine banks, including Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) in its investigation of banks' manipulation of the LIBOR rates, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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