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Stock Futures Pare Losses as GDP Shows U.S. Expansion

Stocks in this article: ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC CMCSA GT AAPL AMZN MRK DF WMT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were paring losses Friday as investors cheered a better-than-expected read on domestic economic growth.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 24 points, or 4.68 points below fair value, at 13,032. Futures for the S&P 500 were falling less than 1 point, or 0.22 points below fair value, at 1407. Futures for the Nasdaq were up more than 3 points, or 1.14 points above fair value, at 2651.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday that its advanced estimate on U.S. gross domestic product showed growth of 2% in the third quarter, above economists' average expectation of 1.9%, and versus growth of 1.3% in the second quarter.

"The advance third-quarter reading of GDP confirmed the impact on the health of the world's largest economy from a slowdown in global demand, but improved upon a lackluster second quarter," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak.

At 9:55 a.m. the final read on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for October is expected to come in at 83 compared with the previous estimate of 83.1. (AMZN) shares were rebounding in premarket trading, up 2.5%, after plunging into the red when the company came

up short on both the top and bottom line in its latest quarter despite a year-over-year sales increase of nearly 30%.

Apple (AAPL) shares were also ticking higher after initially slipping on its delivery Thursday of a

below-consensus quarterly profit but topped Wall Street's revenue expectations.

The European markets were paring losses as well, with the FTSE in London falling 0.25% and the DAX in Germany up 0.20%.

The Nikkei Average in Tokyo closed down 1.35% on Friday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished down 1.21%.

December crude oil futures were falling 84 cents at $85.21 a barrel. December gold futures were off $8.30 at $1,704.70 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was gaining 16/32, lowering the yield to 1.773%. The dollar was up 0.18%, according to the dollar index.

Drugmaker Merck (MRK) reported third-quarter earnings of 95 cents a share on revenue of $11.5 billion, versus the average analyst estimate of 92 cents a share on revenue of $11.57 billion as overhead spending cuts helped offset weaker sales impacted by generic competition for its Singulair drug.

Shares were off 0.65%.

Comcast (CMCSA) posted third-quarter earnings that were in line with expectations and sales that exceeded forecasts as the company booked $1.2 billion of revenue generated by the 2012 London Olympics.

Shares were up 1.9%.

In other corporate news, Dean Foods (DF) Morningstar business has attracted takeover interest from Michael Foods and Mexican dairy company Grupo Lala, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, in a deal that could be valued in the $1 billion to $1.5 billion range.

Shares were trading sideways.

Wal-Mart (WMT) said Friday it plans to open 100 stores in the next three years in China and add 18,000 jobs.

The pace of store openings is a slowdown from earlier growth rates for Wal-Mart in the competitive Chinese retail sector.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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