Midday Market Update: Stocks Weaker After Third Quarter GDP Report | ETF Trends

Data showing that the U.S. economy grew at a slower rate than previously reported sent both stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) moderately lower this morning. This morning’s report muddied the waters a bit for those investors looking for a strong V-shaped recovery.

The U.S. economy grew at a slower rate in the third quarter of 2009 than initially reported. This morning’s revised GDP data showed that the economy grew at a 2.8% rate in the third quarter versus the initial estimate of 3.5%. The main factors behind the downgrade were: weaker consumer spending, lower commercial construction, businesses trimming their inventories and the nation’s trade deficit, according to Jeannine Aversa of the Associated Press.

The bad news is that the economic rebound in the months ahead is likely to be lethargic. However, the good news is that the U.S. economy, after suffering perhaps its worst recession since the 1930s, finally started to grow again after four straight negative quarters. Prospects for future economic growth improved this morning as consumer confidence levels for November unexpectedly rose. Bob Willis for Bloomberg reports that the Confidence Board’s confidence index increased to 49.5 from 48.7 the prior month. (ETFs for a recovery).

After the bell yesterday, tech bellwether Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) reported a 14% gain in quarterly profit despite a dip in sales in its key PC and printer segments. But the company did post higher revenue for its information technology services business, reported Benjamin Pimentel for MarketWatch.

This underscores the company’s transformation from a traditional hardware maker. Hewlett’s stock is down about 2% currently, while the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index Fund (NYSE: IYW) and the Technology Select SPDR ETF (NYSE: XLK) are both down less than 1%. (For more stories on the technology sector, please visit our technology category).

The biggest maker of heart-rhythm devices, Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) said second-quarter earnings surged 59% with help from strong revenue growth. The company’s implantable-defibrillator business appears to be shrugging off problems affecting rivals, writes Jon Kamp for The Wall Street Journal.

Shares of the company rose the most in a year (up over 8% earlier today) after the company raised its earnings forecast. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Medical Devices Index Fund (NYSE: IHI) is up more than 1% today. (For more stories on IHI, please visit the IHI section or for more information on sector ETFs, please see our sector ETF category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.