(Updated from 8:34 a.m.)
As if we needed any more proof, preliminary figures for the
gross domestic product confirm the economic wheels are slowing dramatically. The economy grew by only 1.1% in the fourth quarter, slightly better than the 1% rate expected by economists.
The figure, however, is lower than the 1.4% growth rate flagged in the advance report of fourth-quarter GDP that had been released earlier. GDP -- the output of goods and services produced in the U.S. -- has slowed sharply from 5.6% in the second quarter of 2000.
But there was good news in the report on the inflation front. The price index, an important inflation measure, was revised down for the quarter to 1.9%. Economists were expecting it to remain at 2.1%, on par with the advance estimate, but up from 1.6% in the third quarter.
The impact of this number on the market may be limited since the earlier "advance" estimate was released last month. Plus, most of the data used to calculate this number has already been issued.
The report is unlikely to change
Federal Reserve Chairman
Alan Greenspan's testimony to the
House Financial Services Committee
, which kicked off at 9:30 a.m. EST. He has already revised his remarks from the speech he gave two weeks ago to the peer committee in the Senate and is showing more concern about the economy. Investors are
eagerly awaiting word that the Fed will again cut interest rates to kick the economy back into growth mode.
Also factoring into the latest economic mix is the release of the February
Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. The index hit 43.2, up from 40.2 in January, but still clearly in contraction mode. It serves as a barometer for factory-sector expansion -- a sector that has been on the decline for several months. Along with the
Philly Fed Index, it is considered a good gauge of what to expect from the important
has been tracking the latest economic releases and their
impact on the markets.
Today's Economic Data
8:30 a.m.: Gross domestic product for Q4 preliminary. Source: Commerce Department. Actual: +1.1%. Forecast: +1.0%. Previous: +1.4%. Price index: Actual: 1.9%. Forecast: +2.1%. Previous: +2.1%.
9 a.m.: Treasury buyback announcement. Source: Bureau of the Public Debt. The Treasury announces the details of tomorrow's reverse auction.
10 a.m.: Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for February. Source: National Association of Purchasing Management -- Chicago. Actual: 43.2. Forecast: N/A. Previous: 40.2.
6:30 p.m.: Consumer Comfort Index for the week ended. Source: ABC News and Money Magazine. Forecast: N/A. Previous: 19.
Forecasts are from
. Times are Eastern. For a longer-term economic calendar and more, see