U.S. slowdown hits Wall Street

April 29, 2015 08:28 AM

U.S. stock index futures fell further on Wednesday after data showed that the U.S. economic growth stalled in the first quarter and ahead of the outcome of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting.

U.S. gross domestic product braked more sharply than expected in the quarter and grew at only 0.2% annual rate as harsh weather dampened consumer spending and energy companies struggling with low prices cut spending.

The Fed is not expected to raise interest rates. But investors will closely examine the central bank's statement for clues on when rates are likely to be increased, as a batch of soft data could push back the timing of a hike until the end of the year. The statement is expected at 1400 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).

"The mixed economic data has been a concern. The low-rate environment is a bubble in itself and its like riding a balloon until the pin pops," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 13 points and their fair value – a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract – indicated a lower open.

Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures  were down 127 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures  were down 26.25 points.

A number of companies also posted mixed earnings.

Twitter shares were down% 2.2% at $42.38 in premarket trading. The stock slumped as much as 24% after market on Tuesday as the company cut its full-year forecast due to weak demand for its new direct response advertising.

Lumber Liquidators  slumped 15.9% to $28.11 after the hardwood flooring retailer reported a 2% fall in net sales so far in April and said its chief financial officer would leave in June.

Starwood Hotels  rose 8.6% to $87.77 after it said it was exploring strategic and financial alternatives, while MasterCard <MA.N> rose 1.41% to $91.50 after its profit increased due to lower tax expenses.

Wearable camera maker GoPro shares jumped 11.2% to $52.44 after it forecast current-quarter profit and revenue above analysts' expectations, citing strong demand for its action cameras.

Shares of Eaton Corp  a maker of electrical and hydraulic systems, fell 1% to $69.29 after the company blamed the strong dollar for cutting its 2015 forecast.

Companies that hedge well against the dollar, such as Nike will continue to do well but companies who blame the dollar will continue to be a step behind, said Oliver Pursche, CEO of Bruderman Brothers in New York.

"History will continue to repeat itself," said Pursche.

Goodyear, the largest U.S. tire maker, rose 2.2% to $27.80 after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit as offset the effects of a stronger dollar by managing costs.

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Tanya Agrawal, Reuters