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Market Update

U.S. Economic Slowdown to Extend, Weekly Loss of 2.3% in S&P 500

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 1:11 PM ET March 27 2015

1:10 PM New York – Stocks on Wall Street struggled and S&P 500 index is set to close down 2.3% and the Nasdaq by 2.9% for the week. Economic growth in the fourth-quarter was held at 2.2% in the final estimate and for all of 2014 the U.S. economy slowed to a growth of 2.2% from 2.4% in 2013.

Stocks on Wall Street struggled after the latest economic growth revision failed to match economists’ expectations.

The Commerce Department said U.S. economy slowed in the final three months of 2014 and the slowdown is likely to continue in the first quarter of this year.

GDP, the widest measure of goods and services generated across the economy, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, matching the previous estimate.

Several economists surveyed by ticker.com were looking for the growth rate to be as high as 2.35%.

For all of 2014, the GDP grow slowed to 2.2% from 2.4% in 2013.

The economy expanded at 5% annual rate in the third quarter and businesses slowed on inventory building and capital expenditure.

The weakness is likely to persist in the first quarter because of harsh weather, strikes at ports on West Coast and ongoing price fall in energy markets.

However, corporations are expanding payrolls and that is likely to sustain consumer spending.

Corporate after-tax profit, excluding depreciation and inventory, declined 3% from the third quarter in the final three months of the year and decline was the largest since the first quarter in 2011.

Profits at corporations increased 2.9% from a year ago in the fourth-quarter after expanding at 5.1% annual rate in the third quarter.

For the entire 2014, after-tax profits at corporations fell 8.3%, the largest annual decline since 2008.

On Wall Street trading, Tollbooth Strategy Index slid 0.02% or 1.82 to 10,414.32.

S&P 500 index edged up 1.28 or 0.06% to 2,057.32 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.18 or 0.2% to 4,874.51.

Crude oil in New York trading slipped $1.51 to $49.92 a barrel and gold declined $4.90 to $1,199.90 an ounce.

U.S. Movers

BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) jumped 3% or 29 cents to $9.59 after the Canada-based mobile company reported revenues in the fourth-quarter ending in February plunged 32.4% to $660 million from a year ago period.

Net in the quarter swung to a profit $28 million compared to a loss of $423 million and diluted earnings per share swung to 5 cents from a diluted loss per share of 80 cents.

GameStop Corp (GME) decreased 1.5% or 60 cents to$38.19 after the consumer electronics and wireless services retailer reported total sales in the fourth-quarter ending in January dropped 5.6% to $3.48 billion from a year ago period.

Comparable store sales in the quarter slipped 1.8%.

Net income in the quarter surged 10.7% to $244.1 million or $2.23 per diluted share compared to $220.5 million or $1.89 from the same quarter last year.

GameStop forecasted comparable store sales for the first-quarter to increase in the range of 2.5% to 5.5% and net income between $58 million and $65 million and diluted earnings per share to increase between 53 cents to 60 cents.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc