NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks opened lower Wednesday as the economy skidded to a near halt in the first three months of the year after being battered by harsh weather, plunging exports and sharp cutbacks in oil and gas drilling.
Investors were also waiting for a statement from the Federal Reserve following its latest policy meeting.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell six points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,108, as of 10:04 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 40 points, or 0.2 percent, or 18,053 points. The Nasdaq fell six points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,041.
US ECONOMY: The overall economy grew at a barely discernible annual rate of 0.2 percent in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That is the poorest showing in a year and down from 2.2 percent growth in the fourth quarter. Plummeting exports pulled growth down by nearly a full percentage point.
FED STATEMENT: The Federal Reserve is set to issue a policy statement from its two-day meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Investors will be looking for any hints on when it will raise interest rates, but expectations now are that they’ll stay at record lows until at least September.
EUROPE’S DAY: France’s CAC-40 fell 1.12 percent and Germany’s DAX fell 1.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.6 percent.
EARNINGS: U.S. corporate earnings on Wednesday were mixed.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts surged after the company reported earnings that surpassed analysts’ expectations and its board of directors said that it would explore a full range of strategic and financial options for the company. The company’s stock climbed $6.35, or 7.8 percent, to $87.14.
Buffalo Wild Wings slumped $23.56, or 12.8 percent, to $160 after the company reported disappointing first-quarter results. The company said its net income and revenue grew. But the price of chicken wings surged and Buffalo Wild Wings’ costs were also boosted by the chain’s expansion.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 119.23 yen from 118.82 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1006 from $1.0972. U.S. government bond prices fell.
BONDS: Government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.05 percent from 2 percent late Tuesday.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark rose 11 cents to $57.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude rose 31 cents to $64.94 a barrel in London.