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US: Stocks fall on weak 1Q growth


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks opened lower on Wednesday on news the US economy registered growth of just 0.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 18,049.11, down 61.03 points (0.34 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 6.25 (0.30 per cent) to 2,108.51, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 17.73 (0.35 per cent) to 5,037.69.

The first quarter report came in well below the 1.0 per cent growth expected by analysts and reflected in part the drag from exceptionally cold winter weather and the West Coast port strike.

"What a disappointment to think the US economy barely grew at all in the first quarter with the fed funds rate at the zero bound for more than six years now," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

The weak data mean the US Federal Reserve is likely to keep its plans to raise interest rates on pause for a little longer.