Futures Hold Gains Despite Weak Data

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U.S. stock-index futures held on to solid gains Wednesday despite a much weaker-than-expected report on economic growth. 

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As of 8:39 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 51 points to 14741, S&P 500 futures gained 8 points to 1589 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 16.8 points to 2875.

Wall Street is getting its mojo back. At least for now. 

After a brutal week, and a tough session on Monday, the markets posted big gains Tuesday. With futures in the green on Wednesday, the broad-market averages were poised to extend those gains in early trading. 

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"While momentum could see the sell-off intensify in the near term, the pull-back should provide attractive entry points for risk assets," David Folkerts-Landau, chief economist at Deutsche Bank wrote to clients. "We continue to see long-term upside for equities as the global recovery gains momentum and expect the S&P 500 could be 25% higher by end-2015." 

On the economic front, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.8% in the first quarter, down from a previous estimate of 2.4%. Economists expected the economy to expand at a rate of 2.4% in the first three months of the year.

Market participants are also likely to pay close attention to public comments by two Federal Open Market Committee officials: Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker. Clues on how the central bank plans to exit its vast bond-buying program have driven markets in recent weeks. 

Elsewhere, gold prices tumbled to their lowest level since August 2010. The benchmark contract skidded lower by $46.40, or 3.6%, o $1,229 a troy ounce. 

"Despite the recent calm in sentiment, price action in gold ... provides a tangible signal that Fed tapering concerns persist," analysts at Nomura wrote to clients. 

Oil fell 17 cents, or 0.14%, to $95.18 a barrel. Wholesale New York Habor gasoline dipped 0.31% to $2,729 a troy ounce. 

In corporate news, General Mills (GIS) posted quarterly profits that matched expectations, but a full-year outlook that missed the Street's expectations. 

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 2.2% to 2600, the English FTSE 100 jumped 1% to 6165 and the German DAX climbed 1.7% to 7942. 

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 sold off by 1% to 12834, and the Chinese Hang Seng soared 2.4% to 20339. 


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