After posting strong gains in the two previous sessions, stocks are likely to give back some ground in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 71 points.
The downward momentum for the markets is partly due to disappointing economic news out of China, the world's second largest economy behind the U.S.
Data released by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics showed that Chinese economic growth slowed to 8.1 percent in the first quarter from 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected a more modest slowdown to 8.4 percent.
Traders have also shown a negative reaction to quarterly results from JP Morgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), which are moving lower in pre-market trading despite reporting better than expected first quarter earnings.
On the other hand, shares of Google (GOOG) are moving higher in pre-market trading after the web search giant reported better than expected first quarter earnings.
Google also announced plans to create a new class of non-voting shares, which will be distributed through a stock dividend to all existing shareholders.
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department recently released a report showing an increase in consumer prices in the month of March that matched economic estimates.
Not long after the open, Reuters and the University of Michigan are due to release a report on consumer sentiment in the month of April. The consumer sentiment index is expected to be unchanged from the previous month at 76.2.
by RTT Staff Writer
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