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Stock Futures Slide Before 3rd-quarter GDP Report

STEPHEN BERNARD

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Stock futures are lower after the government says the economy continues to grow at a sluggish pace.

The gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economy, grew at a 2 percent rate during the third quarter. That's in line with what economists had forecast.

Traders are cautious about the health of the economy, particularly ahead of next week's midterm elections and amid speculation over the size of economic stimulus measures expected from the Federal Reserve.

Dow Jones industrial average futures are down 24, or 0.2 percent, at 11,025. S&P 500 futures are down 4, or 0.3 percent, at 1,176, while Nasdaq 100 futures are down 7, or 0.3 percent, at 2,119.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Stock futures fell Friday as investors grew more cautious before the government provides its first look at how fast the economy expanded during the third quarter.

Uncertainty heading into next week's midterm elections and speculation over the size of economic stimulus measures expected from the Federal Reserve have also added to the guarded tone hanging over the market.

Economists expect the gross domestic product grew at a meager 2 percent annual rate during the third quarter, far short of what would be needed to reduce the high unemployment rate. However, a 2 percent economic growth rate would mark a small improvement from the 1.7 percent rate reported during the second quarter.

The pace of growth will be closely watched because it is the broadest measure of economic growth. The data could also play a role in how much money the Fed decides to spend on an expected stimulus program. Stocks rose sharply during the first half of October as expectations mounted that the Fed would start buying Treasury bonds to drive interest rates lower. That, in turn, is supposed to spark spending and lending. But in recent days, the size of the bond-buying program has been questioned, putting a market rally on hold.

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