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Photo: screenshot via ABC News

GDP growth slowed to 2.2 per cent.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,228.3, +23.6, +0.1%
S&P 500: 1,403.3, +3.3, +0.2%
NASDAQ: 3,069.2, +18.5, +0.6%

And now the top stories:

  • There were a number of big negative forces that could’ve rattled markets today.  Last night, S&P slashed Spain’s credit rating to BBB+/A-2.  But as usual, most argued that S&P was late to the game.  This was certainly reflected in European stocks, which closed positive today. See Also: 14 jaw-dropping facts about the Spanish economy >
  • Today’s U.S. Q1 GDP report could’ve been bad news for stocks. The headline number reflected 2.2 per cent growth, which is a sharp deceleration from the 3.0 per cent growth we had in Q4.  Economists were looking for 2.5 per cent.  The big drag was government spending, which plunged 5.9 per cent.  On the bright side, consumer spending jumped 2.9 per cent, which was much higher than the 2.3 per cent increase expected by economists. 
  • There was more good news about the consumer. The April University of Michigan consumer confidence index climbed to 76.4, which is higher than the 75.7 expected by economists.  EXCLUSIVE: Jim O’Neill Identifies The Dominant Economic Theme Of Our Generation >
  • Maybe all those consumers are shopping online.  Amazon reported a monster first quarter.  EPS came in at $0.28, which was well ahead of the $0.07 analysts were looking for.  This included around $0.19 from equity investments like LivingSocial.
  • Ford fell after announcing earnings this morning. EPS of $0.39 beat expectations of $0.35.  Total vehicles sold fell to 1.358 million from 1.403 million a year ago.  The North America division booked an operating profit of $2.1 billion, which was the highest level since 2000.  However, the Europe segment reported a $149 million loss.  Management expects U.S. full year industry volume to hit at least 14.5 million. Look How Cheap Things Are In America Compared To Other Certain Countries >
  • One of the biggest losers today was UGG boot maker Deckers Outdoors.  Share tanked after the company said Q1 EPS dropped to $0.20.  Analysts were expecting $0.25.  This was a case where good weather was bad news.  “Sales growth was driven by the addition of the Sanuk brand combined with increased demand for the UGG brand spring line, partially offset by softness in boots due to the unusually warm weather,” said CEO Angel Martinez.
  • Don’t Miss: NATURAL GAS: A Stock Investor’s Guide To The Most Controversial Commodity In The World >

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