Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, has been lackluster for the past four months. The weakness played a big role in the first quarter when the economy expanded at a weak 0.5 percent rate, the slowest increase in two years.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 147 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,684 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 20 points, or 1 percent, to 2,056. The Nasdaq composite index lost 52 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,753. Losses over the last two days have wiped out the Dow and S&P 500’s gains from earlier this month. The Nasdaq is set to fall for the seventh day in a row.
Revenue tumbled 28 percent, and the oil giant lost money in its vaunted exploration and production business despite a 2 percent increase in production. It made more money, however, in chemicals.
“The theme across all consumer categories is more natural ingredients for all the products they’re purchasing,” said Sarah Jindal, a senior beauty analyst for Mintel. “That’s going to continue to become more and more important to the consumer.”
The University of Michigan said Friday that its index of consumer sentiment slid to 89 in April from 91 in March. It is the lowest reading since September and the fourth straight drop. The index stood at 95.9 a year ago.
The FDA says its own findings “show mixed results that make it difficult to draw conclusions regarding the success of the program,” according to briefing documents posted online.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.66 percent from 3.59 percent last week. That brought it close to its level a year ago of 3.68 percent.
The gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, grew by a tiny 0.5 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That is down from 1.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter.
DreamWorks stockholders will receive $41 for each share they own. That’s a 24 percent premium to the company’s Wednesday closing price of $32.20. The companies put the deal’s value at about $3.8 billion.