U.S. economy shows anemic first quarter growth, missing consensus

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. showed a smaller-than-expected expansion in the first quarter, its worst reading in three years, dampening optimism over the state of the world’s largest economy, according to official preliminary data released on Friday.

In a report, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that GDP registered a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.7% growth in the three month period from January to March, down from the 2.1% expansion registered in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Analysts had expected GDP growth to ease to just 1.2%.

Furthermore, real consumer spending increased by only 0.3% in the first quarter, missing expectations for a 0.9% advance, and much lower than the prior quarter’s 3.5% jump. That was it's weakest reading since 2009.

The GDP price index for its part rose 2.2% in the first quarter, compared to the prior reading of a 2.1% increase and forecasts for a 2.0% gain.

Immediately after the report, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0908 from around 1.0925 ahead of the publication; GBP/USD was at 1.2921 from 1.2937 earlier; while USD/JPY was at 111.67 from 111.45 earlier.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 98.86, compared to 98.72 ahead of the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat open. The Dow futures rose 27 points, or 0.13%, the S&P 500 futures inched up 1 point, or 0.03%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 5 points, or 0.09%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,266.46 a troy ounce, compared to $1,268.23 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $49.71 a barrel from $49.56 earlier.