|U.S. economic growth slows in fourth quarter; corporate profits fall|
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth cooled in the fourth quarter as previously reported and after-tax corporate profits took a hit from a strong dollar, which could undermine future business spending. Corporate profits from outside the United States fell at an 8.8 percent rate, the steepest decline since the 2007-2009 recession. "Slower profit growth could mean slower investment in the coming months," said Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered in New York. For all of 2014, after-tax corporate profits fell 8.3 percent, the largest annual drop since 2008.
|Wall Street flat ahead of Yellen; biotechs bounce|
U.S. stocks held near the unchanged mark on Friday, putting major indexes on track to barely snap a four-session losing streak, ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that could create a volatile close on Wall Street. Healthcare stocks helped buoy indexes with biotech stocks bounced 2.3 percent higher after suffering a 7-percent drop in the prior four sessions, while energy was the worst performing S&P sector as crude prices resumed their decline. What we’ve done is bounce down to the low end of the recent range set on March 11 and it looks like the market is trying to find some stability here," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.74 points, or 0.01 percent, to 17,679.97, the S&P 500 gained 1.69 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,057.84 and the Nasdaq Composite added 11.32 points, or 0.23 percent, to 4,874.68.
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