US Stocks Flip-Flop After Data Shows Slowdown in Economic Growth

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US equity benchmarks were ricocheting between negative and positive trading territory on Friday morning as fresh data indicated that the pace of economic growth slowed in the first quarter while consumer sentiment moved lower.

Some six of the 11 key Standard & Poor's 500 Index sectors were higher at the time of writing, with telecommunications, consumer staples and utilities leading the gains while energy and materials acted as a drag.

In economic news, the US economy was projected to have risen by 2.3% in the first quarter, ahead of analysts' estimates for 2.0% growth but slower than the 2.9% rate registered in the final quarter of 2017.

Consumer sentiment, meanwhile, edged lower in April although the overall decrease was less than the drop recorded at mid-month as opinions remained split over the impact of White House policies, according to a University of Michigan survey. The measure was 98.8 for April's final reading, up from 97.8 at mid-month but down from March's 101.4.

Gainers on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were led by Expedia ( EXPE ), 8.1% higher the morning after the online travel company reported financial results for the first quarter which showed a narrower-than-expected loss and revenue that topped analysts' forecasts.

Ventas ( VTR ), a real estate investment trust, was up by 7.5% after reporting an increase in normalized funds from operations in its first quarter early on Friday. Sports clothing company Under Armour ( UA ) was 6.3% higher and Mattel ( MAT ), a manufacturer of toys, was up by 4.7% despite posting a slight decline in sales in the first quarter in after hours trade on Thursday.

Decliners on the index were led by telecommunications company Charter Communications ( CHTR ), 15.2% lower, after the company reported better-than-expected first quarter results, but said the pace of new sales slowed from the same quarter last year.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) was down by 6.5% and Western Digital (WDC) was 6.4% lower despite the company reporting a year-on-year increase in third quarter revenue on Thursday which surpassed analysts' estimates. Brokerage firm Morgan Stanley also lifted its price target for the stock to $97 from $92 on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.37% lower, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up by 0.05% and the Nasdaq was 0.07% higher at the time of writing.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: EXPE , VTR , UA , MAT , CHTR

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