11:10 AM New York – Stocks on Wall Street eased after economic expansion in the first quarter fell short of expectations. European markets declined and pared 3% weekly rise after Spain sought to delay deficit trimming timetable by two years. George Soros disclosed 7.9% stake in J.C. Penney and D.R. Horton surged 20% on quarterly results.
The economic expansion in the first quarter to March fell short of expectations set by economists as business spending slowed and defense spending lagged.
In the quarter, the economic output expanded at annual rate of 2.5%, according to the data released by the Commerce Department. The estimate is the first of three for the quarter and the government is prone to revise the data even after two years.
European markets traded lower after surging more than 3% in the week.
FTSE 100 index in London declined 0.5% and the DAX index in Frankfurt fell 0.4% and the CAC 40 index in Paris eased 0.8%.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Cabinet approved a plan to lower government deficit to 3% target set by the European Union two years later to 2016. The government deficit in the last year was 10.6%.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said to reporters in Madrid that the government has lowered its estimate of economic growth in 2014 to 0.5% from the July estimate of 1.2%.
Stocks in Review
D.R. Horton (DHI
) soared 15% after the largest home builder based on unit sales reported quarterly revenues and earnings that were ahead of expectations.
J.C. Penney (JCP
) soared 6% after the hedge fund controlled by billionaire George Soros disclosed that it acquired 7.9% stake in the struggling department store chain.
) dropped 2% after an advisory committee for European regulators rejected the company’s rheumatoid arthritis.
Luxury goods retailer PPR plunged 6% in Paris trading after first quarter sales increased 1%, less than expected.
Total SA declined 1.5% in Paris after the oil company said earnings declined 7% on the losses in Canadian oil-sands project related losses and lower output.