By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006. The slowdown followed two back-to-back quarters of bullish growth and is likely to be short-lived given the enormous tailwind from lower gasoline prices. Other data on Friday showed consumer sentiment jumped to an 11-year high in January. "We look for strong domestic consumption to continue supporting growth momentum in the coming quarters even as investment suffers due to falling oil prices," said Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities in New York.
U.S. stocks fell on Friday, pressured by concern over by domestic economic growth and the potential impact of euro zone instability on U.S. corporate results. U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006. "It's just a little disheartening to see the U.S. didn't have such a great quarter and it puts a little bit of fear in the minds of the people," said Joseph Benanti, managing director for sales and trading at Rosenblatt Securities in New York. Adding to concerns, Greece's finance minister said the government would not cooperate with the European Union and International Monetary Fund mission bankrolling the country and would not seek an extension of the bailout program.
(Reuters) - Shares of trendy hamburger chain Shake Shack Inc soared as much as 150 percent in their first day of trading on Friday, valuing the company that grew out of a hotdog cart in New York's Madison Square Park at nearly $2 billion.
MasterCard Inc , the world's No. 2 debit and credit card company, reported a better-than-expected profit for the holiday shopping quarter as customers dug deeper into their pockets. MasterCard and larger rival Visa Inc have been benefiting as more people use cards instead of cash across the world. The dollar, which gained nearly 13 percent in 2014, is expected to continue to be a headwind through the year on both revenue and the bottom line, MasterCard said on a conference call on Friday. MasterCard's worldwide purchase volume increased 12.1 percent to $858 billion in local currency terms during the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, while its cross-border volumes rose 19 percent.