US STOCKS-Futures point to flat open after GDP data

* Economy grew at 3.2 pct pace in Q1, less than expected

* Fears ease over Greece’s debt situation

* U.S. starts criminal probe into Goldman-source

* Futures: Dow, Nasdaq flat, S&P down 1.4 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates with GDP data)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 30 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures
pointed to a flat open on Friday as worries over debt-laden
Greece eased and the economy grew in the first quarter but at
slightly slower-than-expected pace.

A multibillion-euro aid package for Greece will be hammered
out within days and could keep the crisis from spreading, a top
European Commission official said. Fears over a sovereign debt
default in Europe have weighed on equities in recent weeks.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.2 percent rate in
the quarter, the Commerce Department said in its first
estimate, below the 3.4 percent estimate that analysts had
forecast. For details, see [ID:nN2926503]

“The data was modestly light but should be close enough to
confirm that the economy has the possibility of growing above
trend, especially when every other indicator has suggested the
economy is moving in the right direction,” said Douglas Peta,
an independent market strategist in New York.

Financials will be in focus after a source said federal
prosecutors were investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: ),
raising the possibility of criminal charges less than two weeks
after it was accused of civil fraud. The shares down 5.4
percent to $151.60 in premarket trading. For details, see

“It doesn’t look like the SEC’s case is open and shut, but
potential litigation is going to be an issue for investment
banks, especially until there some kind of resolution,” Peta

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) fell 1.4 points and were below fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: ) were
unchanged, while Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) were also flat.

On the earnings front, both Coventry Health Care Inc
(CVH.N: ) and Newell Rubbermaid Inc (NWL.N: ) posted quarterly
earnings that beat expectations and raised their outlooks.
[ID:nN30240605] and [ID:nN30245864]

Dow component Chevron Corp (CVX.N: ) was down 0.2 pct to
$82.10 in premarket trading after it reported a sharp rise in
quarterly profit. [ID:nN30117765]

UAL Corp’s (UAUA.O: ) United Airlines and Continental
Airlines Inc (CAL.N: ) will announce a merger to create the
world’s largest airline, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Oil-sector companies will be in the spotlight after
Chevron’s results and as a massive oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico washed up to wildlife refuges and seafood grounds and
the government fought to contain potentially one of the worst
U.S. ecological disasters. June crude futures were up nearly 1
percent. [nSPILL]

European shares fell 0.3 percent in morning trade, while
Japan’s Nikkei average (.N225: ) ended up 1.2 percent.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) chalked up their best day in nearly two months
on Thursday on robust earnings reports.

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(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Futures point to flat open after GDP data