According to several economic reports today U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2007, measuring total goods and services output within U.S. borders, came in at minimal levels with an annual pace increase of only 0.6 percent, unchanged from an estimate a month ago.
The GDP report confirmed painfully slow fourth quarter growth, but most were relieved that the number wasn’t revised lower. The Commerce Department also reported that US corporate profits fell 3.3 percent against 0.1 percent prediction from analysts in the fourth quarter.
Consumers on the other hand, increased their buying at a 2.3 percent pace, which was ahead of the 1.9 percent growth rate that had been estimated. The price deflator was also revised downward to 2.4% from 2.7% indicating better than expected spending, and lower than expected inflation.
Meanwhile, Initial jobless claims fell to 366,000 from 375,000.
The reports arrived as Wall Street is still trying to determine how well the economy is holding up under strains including tightness in the credit markets, a weak housing sector and nervous consumers who have cut back spending. Investors will likely be examining comments from Federal Reserve officials for insights into how the economy, and specifically the financial sector, are faring. Several Fed officials are slated to speak today.