The Commerce Department presented its revised U.S. GDP figures for the fourth quarter of 2006 Thursday, raising the previously reported GDP rate of 2.2% to 2.5%. Economists surveyed by both Bloomberg and MarketWatch were expecting the initial estimate of 2.2% to be unrevised. The revised figure means the economy grew 3.3% in FY2006, compared with 3.2 percent in FY2005. The core PCE price index (ex-energy and food) was revised downward a tenth of a point to 1.8%. In slightly negative news, corporate profits were down for the first time in five quarters, falling by $4.9 billion, or a 0.3%. Still, for FY2006, before-tax profits rose by $285 billion, or 21.4%, the most since 1983. Meanwhile, home construction fell at an annual rate of 19.8 percent, its worst performance since 1991. In other economic reporting, initial unemployment claims fell by seasonally adjusted 10,000 to 308,000 according to the Labor Department. The four-week initial claims average fell by 7,250 to 316,750. The single-week initial claims figure was the lowest since Jan. 13, the four-week average the lowest since Feb. 3. U.S. futures rose sharply on the GDP news.
Sources: Bloomberg, MarketWatch (i), (ii)
Commentary: Durable Goods Orders Come in Below Expectations; Aircraft Orders Recover • Staying Short Treasuries After Big Ben's Speech • With Employment, Housing and Consumption as Drags, Can Production Remain Positive?
Stocks/ETFs to watch: S&P 500 Index (SPY), Diamonds Trust Series 1 ETF (DIA), iShares Lehman Aggregate Bond (AGG)
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