US stocks dip as Q4 growth slows

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Feb 27, 2019.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Feb 27, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks retreated on Thursday (Feb 28) following data that showed US economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter even as it topped expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.3 per cent to 25,916.00.

The broad-based S&P 500 also shed 0.3 per cent to 2,784.49, along with the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which finished at 7,532.53.

US growth tapered down to an annual rate of 2.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, a sharp drop from 3.4 per cent in the third quarter, but above the 2.3 per cent expected by analysts.

"The data we had today is slightly better than people would have thought," said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors.

"The market reaction shows us that the worst fears are not going to be realised."

Analysts have been readying for a pullback or pause in US stocks after Wall Street surged nearly 20 per cent since late December.


Among individual companies, Celgene dropped 8.7 per cent on doubts about its proposed takeover by Bristol-Myers Squibb after Wellington Management, which holds about 8 per cent of Bristol-Myers, came out against the transaction.

Activist fund Starboard Value, another Bristol-Myers shareholder, also opposed the deal.

Bristol-Myers advanced 1.4 per cent.

Companies with big moves after earnings announcements included Booking Holdings, which slumped 11 per cent, HP Inc, which dived 17.3 per cent and Monster Beverage, which surged 8.7 per cent.

Tesla Motors advanced 1.6 per cent after chief executive Elon Musk said the company would have an announcement later on Thursday.