Stocks Opened Lower after GDP Data

U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday after data showed the U.S. economy grew less than expected in the fourth quarter and results from Ford Motor Co. also fell short of Wall Street’s estimates. The Dow Jones industrial average lately lost 45.41 points, or 0.36 percent, at 12,689.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 1.77 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,316.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.92 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,808.20.

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 1-1/2 years in the fourth quarter of 2011, but a strong rebuilding of stocks by businesses and a slower pace of spending on capital goods hinted at softer growth early this year. U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday, a sharp acceleration from the 1.8 percent clip of the prior three months.

Ford Motor Co. posted a big profit for the fourth quarter and 2011, but they were largely due to accounting changes. Without those changes, the company fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Ford earned $13.62 billion in the fourth quarter, or $3.40 per share, largely due to a decision to move deferred tax assets back onto its books. Revenue rose 6 percent to $34.6 billion.

Greece’s prime minister was set to resume talks Friday with representatives of private creditors in the hope of reaching a debt reduction deal essential to avoid a disastrous bankruptcy.

Crude-oil futures turned higher Friday, recovering ground after a dip on U.S. gross domestic product news. Oil for March delivery added 60 cents, or 0.6%, to trade at $100.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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