The economy grew at a relatively brisk 2.5% rate in the first quarter, but analysts had expected 3% growth and the result is a mild sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is off just 0.06% today and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) is down 0.42%. Investors are also in a cautious mood because the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment gauge fell to 76.4 in April, the lowest since January, when tax increases took effect.
The numbers didn't look great today, but looking closer at GDP, we see that personal consumption grew 3.2% and government spending was a drag on GDP. These are two long-term positive trends for the economy because they show some strength in the consumer and more spending restraint by the government.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) is up 0.7% today after reporting first-quarter earnings. Net income fell 4.5% to $6.18 billion, or $3.18 per share, but that was ahead of estimates and that's why the stock is moving higher. The company increased oil production in the quarter but lower oil prices were a drag on earnings. Oil companies can be volatile quarter to quarter, but this is a stable business for investors with a long-term view.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) jumped 1.5% after Japan officially approved the company's 787 Dreamliner battery fix. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines own about half of the 787s delivered so far so this will bring most of the fleet back to the skies -- eventually. Fixes to the batteries will take until the end of next month so it will be summer before all of Japan's fleet is ready to go. This headache for investors appears to be behind us and now we can focus on earnings, which were very solid in the first quarter.
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