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Market Hustle: Futures Remain Lower on Weaker GDP Reading

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were signaling a lower start for the final session of trading in February as investors processed the sharp gains of the prior session and a weaker reading on U.S. growth.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 15 points, or 1.65 points below fair value, to 16,257. S&P 500 futures were off 2.75 points, or 1.19 points below fair value, to 1,851.25. Nasdaq futures were down 3.7 points, or 1 point below fair value, to 3,697.8.
  • The U.S. fourth-quarter GDP estimate came in at a basically in-line 2.4%, down from the advance estimate indicating a 3.2% increase. A 2.5% reading was expected. The weaker data reflected a deceleration in private inventory investment, a larger decrease in federal government spending, and downturns in residential fixed investment and state and local government spending.
  • Other economic reports expected on Friday consist of the February Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m., the final February read on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index at 9:55 a.m., and January pending homes sales data at 10 a.m.
  • International markets were mixed, with the FTSE 100 in London down 0.13%, Germany's DAX trading sideways, the Hong Kong Hang Seng settling up just 0.04%, and the Nikkei 225 sliding 0.55%.
  • Headlines overseas were focused on Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's testimony, elevated Russia-Ukraine tensions, and the declines in the Chinese yuan currency that many believe is directly attributable to moves by China's central bank. Also out overnight was low February eurozone inflation data, as joblessness stayed at high levels, ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting next week.
  • U.S. markets closed at a record high Thursday as Yellen testified before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, acknowledging that economic data had been softer since her last appearance. She said low inflation gave the central bank room to pursue a higher employment target.
  • Pier 1 Imports (PIR) was slumping more than 5% after announcing that the company continues to experience significant disruption from adverse weather in many of its major markets, resulting in considerably softer store traffic and forcing it to lower its fourth-quarter guidance.
  • Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) was popping more than 3% after turning down Men's Wearhouse's (MW) $63.50 a share offer but indicating that it wouldn't rule out a deal on sweetened buyout terms. Men's Wearhouse's was rising 2.24%.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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