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


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.

Amazon.com ( 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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