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Market Update

U.S. Economy Stalls in First-Quarter, Markets Dive

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 1:56 PM ET April 29 2015

1:55 PM – U.S. economy slowed down in the first quarter on unusually cold weather, moderate consumer spending and weak energy prices. MasterCard said quarterly worldwide purchase volume increased 12%. Time Warner quarterly net plunged 25%. Volkswagen quarterly net soared 19%.

Stocks on Wall Street eased and market indexes extended loses for the second day after the release of first estimate of the economic growth in the quarter to March.

U.S. economy rose 0.2% in the first-quarter following 2.2% gain in the fourth-quarter, the Department of Commerce said in its first estimate.

Unusually cold weather played a role in truncating as much as half a percentage point of growth and West Coast port disruptions also shrank growth by 0.3 percentage point.

In addition, weak energy prices lowered domestic oil production and construction activities were also on wane. And, consumers moderated spending despite the sharp decline in gasoline prices to boost savings to $728 billion from $603.4 billion the fourth quarter.

On Wall Street, Tollbooth Strategy Index slipped 0.6% or 63.36 to 10,771.20.

S&P 500 index dropped 16.40 or 0.8% to 2,098.58 and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 52.92 or 1% to 5,002.44.

Crude oil in New York jumped $1.62 to $58.68 a barrel and gold slumped $4.10 to $1,209.80 an ounce.

U.S. Movers

MasterCard Inc (MA) gained 1.6% or $1.46 to $91.69 after the payment services provider reported net revenues in the first-quarter ending in March jumped 3% to $2.23 billion from a year ago period.

Net income in the quarter soared 17.2% to $1.02 billion or 89 cents per diluted share compared to $870 million or 73 cents from the same quarter last year.

MasterCard said processed transactions in the quarter soared 12% to 11 billion and the company’s customers issued 2.2 billion MasterCard and Maestro-branded cards.

The company reported worldwide purchase volume climbed 11.8% to $783 billion and gross dollar volume surged 12% to $1.1 trillion.

Twitter Inc (TWTR) declined 4.9% or $2.09 to $40.18 after the social networking site operator said revenues in the first-quarter ending in March surged 74% to $435.94 million from a year ago period.

Net loss in the quarter widened to $162 million or 25 cents per diluted share compared to $132.4 million or 23 cents from the same quarter last year.

Advertising revenue for the quarter surged 72% to $388 million and mobile advertising revenue was 89% of total advertising revenue and international revenue soared 109% to $147 million.

Twitter said average monthly active users in the quarter soared 18% to 302 million and an increase of 4 million from the fourth-quarter.

Twitter forecasted revenues for the second-quarter between $470 million and $485 million.

The social networking site lowered its fiscal revenue guidance in the range of $2.17 billion to $2.27 billion from the earlier guidance of $2.30 billion to $2.35 billion.

Time Warner Inc (TWX) increased 40 cents to $85.37 after the media and entertainment group reported revenues in the first-quarter ending in March dropped 4.9% to $7.13 billion from a year ago period.

Net income in the quarter plummeted 24.8% to $970 million or $1.15 per diluted share compared to $1.29 billion or $1.42 from the same quarter last year.

The broadcasting company forecasted adjusted diluted income per share for the year in the range of $4.60 to $4.70.

European Markets

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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