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U.S. Stock Futures Decline as Data Shows Economic Growth Slowed

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures fell as data showed growth in the world’s largest economy stalled in the first quarter amid harsh winter weather.

Pepco Holdings Inc. climbed 18 percent after Exelon Corp. agreed to buy it. Twitter Inc. lost 11 percent after saying user growth slowed. EBay Inc. fell 4.3 percent after the biggest online marketplace forecast sales that trailed some analysts’ estimates.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring in June fell 0.2 percent to 1,869 at 8:35 a.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge has advanced 0.3 percent in April for a third consecutive monthly gain. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts dropped 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,454. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 Index lost 0.3 percent, with the gauge down for a second month.

The S&P 500 yesterday closed 0.7 percent away from its record reached April 2 as Internet stocks rallied for the first time in five days and results from Merck & Co. to Sprint Corp. topped estimates. The Nasdaq 100 gauge of the biggest technology stocks climbed 0.8 percent. It’s still down 0.6 percent this month after concern that valuations have outpaced earnings growth spurred a selloff of the shares.

Gross domestic product grew at a 0.1 percent annualized rate from January through March, compared with a 2.6 percent gain in the prior quarter, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.2 percent increase.

FOMC Decision

At the conclusion of a two-day meeting today, Federal Reserve policy makers will probably cut their monthly bond- buying program to $45 billion from $55 billion, according to the median economist forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. The Federal Open Market Committee releases its policy statement at 2 p.m. in Washington.

At its March meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to reduce monthly bond purchases by $10 billion and said it would continue to cut them in “measured steps.” Three rounds of monetary stimulus have helped fuel economic growth, sending the S&P 500 surging as much as 180 percent from its 2009 low.

Companies in the U.S. boosted payrolls by 220,000 in April, figures from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed today. The median forecast of 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 210,000.

The ADP numbers come before data from the Labor Department on May 2. The government’s report may show employers added 215,000 workers in April, the most since November, according to economists’ projections.

Earnings Season

MetLife Inc. and Williams Cos. are among S&P 500 companies scheduled to report earnings today. Some 75 percent of the 300 S&P 500 members that have reported earnings this season have posted profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, data compiled by Bloomberg show. About 52 percent beat sales projections, according to the data.

Profits for members of the index climbed 3.4 percent in the first quarter, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. They had predicted an increase of 0.7 percent as recently as April 17. Revenue probably rose 2.8 percent in the quarter, the projections show.

Pepco rallied 18 percent to $26.97. Exelon, the largest U.S. nuclear operator, agreed to buy Pepco in an all-cash deal for $6.8 billion. The deal offers Pepco holders $27.25 a share, a 25 percent premium over the closing price on April 25, according to a statement.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. gained 1.6 percent to $54.90. The company posted first-quarter adjusted earnings of 13 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate of 11 cents. Hyatt also plans to open 40 hotels this year, the company said in a statement.

Twitter Sinks

Twitter tumbled 11 percent to $38. The microblogging site reached 255 million members in the first quarter, sending year- over-year growth to 25 percent from 30 percent in the previous period.

EBay dropped 4.3 percent to $52.17 after forecasting second-quarter revenue of $4.33 billion to $4.43 billion. That compared with the average analyst projection of $4.4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. EBay also posted a first-quarter net loss after taking a $3 billion tax charge to let it repatriate foreign earnings.

Facebook Inc. decreased 0.9 percent to $57.65, while LinkedIn Corp. fell 1.8 percent to $150.50.

Express Scripts Holding Co. fell 6.2 percent to $66.60 after cutting its 2014 forecast. The pharmacy benefit manager reported first-quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 99 cents a share, missing the $1.01 average analyst projection. Cold weather and fewer Obamacare enrollees hurt earnings, the company said.

Separately, Express Scripts reported it received subpoenas from three different agencies regarding investigations into its contracts and relationships with drug companies including Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca Plc and Biogen Idec Inc.

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