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First Quarter GDP Revision Disappoints!

 May 26, 2011 11:49 AM

A month ago the market was shocked when it was reported that GDP growth plunged from 3.2% in the December quarter to only 1.8% in the March quarter.

It was hoped that later revisions, after more data became available, would not be so bleak. The consensus forecast was that today's scheduled revision would show economic growth in the 1st quarter was actually 2.2%.

But the report is that the original number was correct at only 1.8%.

With economic reports showing the economy has slowed significantly since the March quarter, it was a disappointing report.

The market continues to show resilience, continuing to look forward to whatever is the next economic report, hoping it will bring better news. But it's just not happening.

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Three weeks ago, the ISM non-mfg Index, which covers the services sector, provided a shock. It plunged from 57.3 in March to 52.8 in April. That was compared to the consensus forecast of an improvement to 57.8. (The services sector of the U.S. economy accounts for 80% of U.S. employment).

Last week the manufacturing sector seemed to be following the services sector. Manufacturing is no longer as important to the economy as it once was, with so much manufacturing moved overseas for cost-cutting purposes. But it has been an area providing hope for the economy.

However, last week it was reported that the Empire State (NY area) Mfg Index dropped significantly in May, all the way to 11.9 from 21.7 in April, and is now at its lowest level since December.

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The Philadelphia Fed Mfg Index, often a precursor of the national reports, plunged even more in May, to 3.9 from 18.5 in April. (It was forecast to rise to 20.1).

Factory Activity nationally fell 0.4% in April, the first decline in 9 months. Durable Goods Orders fell 3.6% in April, the largest decline since last August.

The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell to a negative – 0.3% in April from a positive 0.7% in March, its first negative reading in nine months.

After a brief respite last summer and fall, the housing industry is back in its Depression. Last week it was reported that new housing starts fell 10.6% in April and permits for future starts fell 4.0%, while existing home sales fell again in April, now down 12.9% year-to-date. On Tuesday it was reported that new home sales increased 7.3% in April, but that was 23.1% lower than a year ago, a year when the overall economy was growing.

And now the hoped for upward revision to 1st quarter GDP, to give these further signs of economic slowing a higher plateau from which to be declining, has failed to take place.

But the stock market is apparently not worried, with the S&P 500 pulled back only to the potential support at its 50-day moving average.

That is in sharp contrast to global markets that are obviously more worried.

Global Markets.

The list of important global markets that broke below their short-term 50-day moving averages weeks ago, and then beneath their long-term 200-day moving averages, includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, (the important BRIC nations), plus Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Singapore.

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