The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Friday with slight losses after U.S. economic growth in the first quarter slowed to its worst level in three years, overshadowing positive earnings from the tech sector.
However, the Dow did end the week with its best gains of the year. The blue-chip index had rallied earlier in the week on a series of positive earnings from the likes of Caterpillar (CAT) , DuPont (DD) , and McDonald's (MCD) .
On Friday, the S&P 500 was down 0.19%, the Dow fell 0.20%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.02%.
The U.S. economy grew at a pace of 0.7% over the first three months of the year, according to the first estimate of first-quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Economists surveyed by FactSet had expected U.S. gross domestic product to rise 1.2%. The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1% pace in the fourth quarter.
The first-quarter slowdown was largely tied to conservative consumer spending. Spending rose just 0.3% from January to March, the smallest increase since 2009.
"That weakness, in our view, is likely to prove transitory," Barclays analysts wrote in a note. "Warm weather reduced utilities consumption, motor vehicle purchases declined to a more sustainable rate, and early in the quarter, tax refunds were delayed. These factors combined with the timing of the Easter/Passover holiday (in April this year) and a weak March employment report likely weighed on consumption growth.
"We look for activity to rebound in the coming quarters and keep the economy in its modest growth path."
Employment costs increased 0.8% in the first quarter, while the employment cost index rose 2.4%, its best growth rate since 2008. Benefits rose 0.7%.
Manufacturing activity in the Chicago region picked up in April. The Chicago PMI rose to 58.3 in April from 57.7 in March. Analysts anticipated a decline to 56.5.
The final reading of consumer sentiment in April retreated to 97 from an initial reading of 98. Analysts expected sentiment to slip from initial estimates to 97.9. The measure remains higher than a reading of 96.9 in March.
Alphabet (GOOGL) rose nearly 4% after besting analysts' estimates on the top- and bottom-lines. Earnings of $7.73 a share soared past consensus by 35 cents a share. Revenue climbed 22.2% to $24.75 billion and exceeded estimates by $530 million. CFO Ruth Porat said the company continues to benefit "from our ongoing investments in product innovation."
Amazon (AMZN) climbed nearly 1% after reporting a double-digit percentage increase in quarterly earnings on strength in its North America business. Earning of $1.48 a share came in 35 cents higher than expected. Sales climbed 23% to $35.7 billion, $400 million more than anticipated. Sales in North America grew 24%, while international sales increased 16%.
Industry peers Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) did not perform quite as well. Microsoft rose slightly despite missing consensus on its top-line. Adjusted earnings of 73 cents were a dime higher than a year earlier and 3 cents higher than expected. However, revenue of $22.1 billion fell short of estimates of $23.6 billion.