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Published: Wednesday, 4/29/2009

Stock futures pare gains following GDP data

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK Investors appeared ready to send Wall Street higher on Wednesday following two days of losses, even after a worse-than-expected reading on the economy.

Stock futures pared some of their early gains following the disappointing report on economic contraction in the first quarter, but still pointed to a higher open.

The U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 6.1 percent pace at the start of this year as sharp cutbacks by businesses and a huge drop in U.S. exports overwhelmed a rebound in consumer spending. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had been expecting a 5 percent slide.

Though the report from the Commerce Department showed that the recession has yet to loosen its grip on the country, investors didn't lose hope.

The market is eager for the Federal Reserve's assessment of the economy, expected later Wednesday at the conclusion of its interest-rate meeting. Investors also are curious if the central bank will accelerate its buying of Treasurys. After lowering its target rate to a range of zero to 0.25 percent, the Fed started buying government debt in March to try to lower rates in the market even further.

Ahead of the market's open, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 71, or 0.9 percent, to 8,038, after rising as much as 99 points prior to the report. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 9.00, or 1.1 percent, to 860.8. Nasdaq 100 index futures gained 12.25, or 0.9 percent, to 1,372.75.



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