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Stocks Slide as U.S. Growth Slowdown Raises Concerns

Tickers in this article: CERN DHI JCP PKI ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks were dipping into the red Friday as growth in U.S. activity disappointed.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that U.S. GDP increased 2.5% in the first quarter after rising 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, were expecting 3% growth, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

A drop in government spending took a substantial bite out of GDP in the period, offset by strength in household spending.

The final estimate on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was also released this morning, and beat expectations and the prior estimate. It came in at 76.4 in April versus the initial estimate of 72.3; economists were expecting 73.2 in April.

The S&P 500 was down 0.26% to 1,581.10.

The biggest percentage decliner was PerkinElmer . The stock tumbled 11.11% to $30.61 after the maker of scientific instruments, diagnostic equipment and environmental safety monitoring products lowered its 2013 earnings expectations Thursday to $2 to $2.10 a share from its previous estimate of $2.24 to $2.32.

J.C. Penney was surging 6.76% to $16.26, to become the top gainer in the index after George Soros revealed he had taken an 8% stake in the struggling retailer. Soros Fund Management disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission 13G filing, dated April 15, that it bought 17.4 million shares, or a 7.9% stake in the retailer's stock.

DR Horton was popping 5.05% to $25.75 after the homebuilder produced fiscal second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, beating estimates by 13 cents, with revenue also topping forecasts as net sales orders grew 34% from a year ago. Sales order backlogs increased 54%.

Cerner Corp. was tacking on 5.66% to $96.87 after the supplier of healthcare information technology solutions projected 2013 earnings per share to be between $2.78 and $2.83, up from a prior range of $2.75 to $2.82. "We expect 2013 to be a very good year, as we have a significant pipeline of opportunities both with existing clients and prospective clients," CEO Neal Patterson said in a statement.

June crude oil futures were slipping 54 cents to $93.10 a barrel and June gold futures were up $9.30 to $1,471.30.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 9/32, diluting the yield to 1.678%. The dollar was down 0.22% to $82.56 according to the U.S. dollar index.

The DAX in Germany was down 0.16% and the FTSE 100 in the UK was falling 0.4%.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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