April 26, 2019
By Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel
(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were flat on Friday, as investors paused ahead of GDP data, which is expected to show the world’s largest economy maintained a moderate pace of growth in the first quarter.
Gross domestic product probably increased at a 2% annualized rate in the quarter as a burst in exports, strong inventory stockpiling and government investment in public construction projects offset a slowdown in consumer and business spending, according to a Reuters survey of economists.
The Commerce Department report will be published at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The GDP data comes as investors look for fresh catalysts to push the markets higher. The S&P 500 index is about 0.5% below its record high hit in late September, after surging nearly 17% this year.
First-quarter earnings have been largely upbeat, with nearly 78% of the 178 companies that have reported so far surpassing earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Wall Street now expects S&P 500 earnings to be in line with the year-ago quarter, a sharp improvement from the 2.3% fall expected at the start of April.
Amazon.com Inc rose 0.9% in premarket trading after the e-commerce giant reported quarterly profit that doubled and beat estimates on soaring demand for its cloud and ad services.
Ford Motor Co shares surged 8.5% after the automaker posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings largely due to strong pickup truck sales in its core U.S. market.
Mattel Inc jumped 8% after the toymaker beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue, as a more diverse range of Barbie dolls powered sales in the United States.
At 6:52 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 35 points, or 0.13%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.5 points, or 0.05% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.14%.
Among decliners, Intel Corp slumped 7.7% after it cut its full-year revenue forecast and missed quarterly sales estimate for its key data center business.
Rival Advanced Micro Devices declined 0.8%.
Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp are expected to report results later in the day.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)