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March 28, 2013

(This is Mark Vickery substituting for Sheraz Mian this morning.)

In this, the last day of the holiday-shortened trading week -- as well as the final trading day of Q1 -- we see a preponderance of econ data coming out before the bell:

The 3rd and final look at Q4 GDP went up to 0.4% -- a good sign. Not that 4/10 of 1% can in any way be considered "good growth" (and 0.6% was the expected number), but consider that the first read for Q4 was in negative territory, which kicked off speculation about a double-dip.

That clearly hasn't happened. Looking forward, we see much of the same: slow growth, at least until the second half of the year, when gains are expected to spike up. We'll see if that pans out…

Initial Jobless Claims shot up to 357K for the week (ended March 23rd), 16K higher than last week's revised 341K. This has caused the 4-week average to tick up, though that number remains solidly below 350K. What we wouldn't have done for a read like that a year or two ago!

March Chicago PMI is also expected today. Otherwise, we're looking at a few earnings reports this morning, the headline-grabber being BlackBerry :

BlackBerry reported good earnings per share, especially considering we had expected a loss and a year ago the company was wallowing in significant EPS losses. However, revenues were down year over year. BlackBerry also lost 3 million subscribers, but CEO Thorsten Heins was quick to point out that more than half of new Z10 customers are coming from platforms outside BlackBerry. With such a recent launch, it's too early to tell here. Shares are down modestly in the pre-market.

GameStop (GME - Free Report) posted mixed results before the bell, too: a record annual gross margin rate and record free cash flow was offset by negative year-over-year revenues and comps. Mosaic Co.'s (MOS - Free Report) profits jumped in its quarterly report, but the fertilizer company fell short of expectations.

May the weather be pleasant for your 3-day weekend!

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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