(Reuters) – U.S. stocks looked set to open little changed on Friday after data showed the economy grew at its weakest pace in three years in the first quarter, while investors remained cautious due to simmering tensions between North Korea and the United States.
Data showed gross domestic product increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate, below the 1.2 percent rise estimated by economists, as consumer spending barely increased and businesses invested less on inventories.
The economy grew at a pace of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Still, the Nasdaq Composite is on track to post gains for the sixth straight month, after closing at a record high on Thursday, following stellar earnings from index heavyweights.
Amazon (O:AMZN) rose 3.4 percent at $949.80 in premarket trading, while Google’s parent Alphabet (O:GOOGL) gained 4.1 percent to $927.40 after their quarterly results beat estimates.
The S&P and the Dow were also on track to end the month higher as the first-quarter corporate earnings season continued to impress.
Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 12.4 percent in the first quarter, the most since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
While strong earnings have kept the market at or near record levels, persistent geopolitical tensions in North Korea and Syria have weighed on investors’ minds.
President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“While we had some strong tech earnings last night, the market is taking a cautious attitude towards Trump’s comments on North Korea and other geopolitical concerns,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
Dow e-minis (1YMc1) were up 22 points, or 0.11 percent, with 17,937 contracts changing hands at 8:35 a.m. ET.
S&P 500 e-minis (ESc1) were up 1 points, or 0.04 percent, with 94,647 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis (NQc1) were down 4 points, or 0.07 percent, on volume of 22,534 contracts.
University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment data for April is expected at 10 a.m. ET and will likely remain unchanged at 98.0 from a month ago.
Qualcomm (O:QCOM) fell 3.8 percent to $51.15 after it said Apple (O:AAPL) decided to withhold royalty payments to its contract manufacturers that are owed to the chipmaker until a legal dispute between the companies is resolved. Apple was up marginally at $143.95.
Starbucks (O:SBUX) fell 4.1 percent to $58.76 after the world’s biggest coffee chain cut its full-year profit target.
Intel (O:INTC) was down 3 percent at $36.30, while Microsoft (O:MSFT) was little changed at $68.26 after the two companies reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue[:]