GDP growth falls below estimates; Stocks mixed

December 22, 2010 6:14:05 AM PST
Stocks were poised for a mixed opening Wednesday after a report showed that the U.S. economy grew slightly faster than first thought during the summer.

The Commerce Department said that the country's gross domestic product rose 2.6 percent between July and September. It originally estimated that the GDP rose 2.5 percent. While the revision was a slight improvement, it fell short of the 2.8 percent growth analysts were expecting.

Economic reports will likely remain a focus of Wall Street Wednesday. After the opening bell, investors will learn how the housing market fared in November. The National Association of Realtors will release its report of sales of previously occupied homes.

Before the market opened, Walgreen Co. said that its revenue and earnings for the fiscal first quarter beat analyst estimates. The country's largest drugstore chain said its profits rose 18.8 percent from a year earlier. Walgreen stock rose 7.3 percent to $39.55 in pre-market trading.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 9, or 0.1 percent, to 11,480. S&P 500 futures rose 1.5, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,252.20. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2.75, or 0.1 percent, to 2,232.50.

Overseas markets were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 0.2 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks blue chip companies in countries that use the euro, rose less than 0.1 percent.

Signs that the U.S. economy is growing will likely help push stocks higher into the new year. The S&P 500 has jumped 6.3 percent this month and 12.5 percent for the year. The index closed Tuesday above the level it reached on Sept. 12, 2008, the last trading day before the collapse of Lehman Brothers at the height of the financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average is at its highest since Aug. 29, 2008.

Late Tuesday, Nike Inc. said it planned to raise some of its prices because of higher costs for cotton and shipping charges. The company said its revenue and earnings per share beat analyst estimates for its latest fiscal quarter. Nike fell 5.3 percent to $87.40 in pre-market trading.

Bond prices fell slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.33 percent from 3.30 percent late Tuesday.


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