- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2011

NEW YORK — Stocks are mixed after the government said the U.S. economy slowed in the first three months of this year.

The economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the January-March period. That’s the weakest showing since last spring when the European debt crisis reduced growth to 1.7 percent. Higher prices for oil and gas have constrained consumer spending.

The government also reported that more people applied for unemployment benefits last week. The increase, the second in three weeks, suggests that the job market remains sluggish.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 28 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,719 in midday trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is up 2 points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,358. The Nasdaq is down 6, or 0.2 percent, at 2,864.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.33 percent from 3.35 percent late Wednesday.

Corporate earnings were mixed. Procter & Gamble Co. fell 1 percent after the maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers cut its earnings outlook for the year due to rising costs for raw materials.

Eastman Kodak Co. fell 8 percent after the company reported its third quarterly loss in the last year on weaker camera and film sales. The results missed analysts’ expectations.

Viacom Inc. rose 4 percent. The owner MTV and Paramount Pictures reported that its income grew 53 percent thanks to popular shows such as “Jersey Shore” and an improved advertising market.

Exxon Mobil Corp. fell 1 percent even after the oil giant reported its best quarterly earnings since 2008. The world’s largest publicly traded company earned $10.65 billion in the first quarter, up from $6.3 billion in the same period last year.

Exelon Corp. also said it would buy electric power company Constellation Energy Group Inc. in a $7.9 billion stock deal. Constellation’s stock rose 4 percent, while Exelon’s shares were flat.

Stock market indicators hit 2011 highs on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates low.

The Russell 2000, an index of small stocks, hit a record. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index doubled from its lows reached during the financial crisis. The Dow also closed at its highest level since May 2008.


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