U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 2.5% rate in the first three months of 2013, up from 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast GDP growth of 3.2%.
Down 27 points before the data, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJM3 -0.26% were last down 46 points to 14,607.
Futures for the S&P 500 index SPM3 -0.22% fell 5 points to 1,576,7 and Nasdaq 100 futures NDM3 -0.27% fell 10.25 points to 2,833.75.
“What’s happening today is a little bit of jitters on the economic front and a little bit of jitters on the earnings front,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.
He added that investors are also growing more concerned over a steeper-than-expected downturn in Europe, given recent data.
At 9:55 a.m. Eastern, the final reading of U.S. consumer-sentiment for April from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan will be released, with expectations for a rise to 74 from 72.3.
Sarhan noted that 70% of companies that have reported so far have beaten expectations, and earnings are on track to come in -1.1% lower versus the first quarter of 2012. “If that happens, it’ll be the first annual decline on a year-on-year basis since 2009,” he said.
In corporate news, Chevron Corp. CVX +0.19% said its first-quarter earnings fell to $6.2 billion, or $3.18 per share, from $6.5 billion, or $3.27 a share, in the same period a year ago.
D.R. Horton DHI +5.38% shares jumped 5% in premarket trading after posting a surge in fiscal second-quarter profit and a 34% rise in orders.
Shares of Amazon.com AMZN -2.06% fell 2% in premarket trade after the e-commerce group reported a net-income fall that beat Wall Street forecasts, but also a soft outlook for the second quarter.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. JCP +6.56% rallied 7% in premarket trade after hedge-fund investor George Soros reported a 7.9% stake in the struggling retailer.
Starbucks Corp. SBUX -2.28% shares fell 2% in premarket trade after investors appeared unimpressed by the company’s lifting of fiscal 2013 profit estimates.
Wall Street finished higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 index SPX +0.40% closing up 6.37 points, or 0.4%, to 1,585.16, after touching an intraday high of 1,592.64. However, stocks pared gains in the afternoon after a report in the German daily Handelsblatt that Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann sent a letter to Germany’s constitutional court criticizing the European Central Bank’s Outright Monetary Transactions.
European stocks were lower across the board, while Tokyo and Shanghai stocks retreated. In commodities, gold was looking at a roughly 5% gain for the week after a jump in prices the prior day. Oil prices slipped. The dollar remained lower ahead of that GDP data.
Polya Lesova is MarketWatch’s New York deputy bureau chief. Follow her on Twitter @PolyaLesova.Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @MWBarbaraKollmeyer.