NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- At 3.2%, U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product came in a bit lower than expected. Inventories were the main reason for the miss.

Inventories rose a little more than $7 billion in the fourth quarter after a $121.4 billion rate in the third quarter. This subtracted 3.7 percentage points from growth -- the most since the late 1980s. Final sales, which is GDP minus inventories, rose 7.1%, the most since 1984. Final sales domestically rose 3.4%. Another notable takeaway is that the U.S. economy has surpassed the pre-crisis peak. This is to say that U.S. GDP in real terms has never been greater.

Personal consumption rose 4.4%, the most since the first quarter of 2006. Residential construction rose at a 3.4% pace. Equipment and spending rose 5.8%, the smallest in five quarters. Net exports added 3.4% to GDP, offsetting the lion's share of the 3.7 percentage drag by inventories to GDP.

The initial market reaction was to take the dollar and bonds lower. However, provided the euro holds the $1.3680 area, the euro bulls may still retain the upper hand. Support for sterling is seen near $1.5850. The dollar may recover against the yen, provided the 82 yen level holds.

The main caveat with the data is that it is preliminary and the December trade and inventory data has yet to be reported and the government makes an estimate of it. That makes these upcoming reports exceptionally important for GDP calculations. If the general pattern is retained, it may encourage economists to revise up first-half GDP estimates as inventories are rebuilt.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.