NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
U.S. stocks could see a muted start to trading Friday after the initial reading on 3Q gross domestic product missed forecasts by a wide margin
Early Friday , Nasdaq and S&P futures indicated a flat to mixed open on Wall Street.
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the third quarter, the government reported Friday. Growth in the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest and perhaps best indicator of the nation's economic health, was significantly weaker than expected but still ahead of the 3.3 percent growth rate last quarter.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected growth of 4.3 percent.
The disappointing gauge on the health of the economy could cause jitters on Wall Street on the eve of the 2004 election, which is believed to be extremely close between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry.
The employment cost index rose 0.9 percent in the third quarter, matching the previous quarter and slightly below estimates of 1 percent rise.
After trading begins, the revised University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for October is expected to be bumped up to 88 from the originally reported 87.5. And the Chicago-NAPM reading on manufacturing for October is seen declining to 59 from 61.3 in September.
Oil prices were higher, but well off the recent record highs. U.S. crude futures rose 31 cents to $51.23 a barrel in electronic trading, while Brent oil futures added 1 cent to $48.38 a barrel in London.
Stocks managed some modest gains Thursday as falling oil prices barely offset anxiety about the presidential election. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 2-1/2 points, while the Nasdaq composite index was up 7-3/4 points (see chart for details).
The indexes should finish the week higher, barring a spectacular selloff -- although this is the 75th anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash. The Dow is up nearly 247 points going into the final session, while the Nasdaq is up more than 61 points.
Asian-Pacific stocks ended mostly lower Thursday thanks to China's surprise rate hike; Tokyo's Nikkei index fell 0.8 percent. European markets were lower in early trading. (Check the latest on world markets)
Treasury prices were steady, with the 10-year note yield at 4.05 percent. The dollar drooped against the yen and was little changed versus the euro. Gold was higher.