There’s an old market axiom that says as goes January, so goes the market. As this one draws to a close we find the S&P 500 down 7.5% as the economy’s descent continues. According to Commerce this morning, the economy contracted at a 3.8% annualized rate in the fourth quarter. If the inventory buildup which occurred in the fourth quarter is excluded, the economy actually contracted 5.1%, the worst in 28 years. As reported, it is the worst since 1982. The economy shrank at a 0.5% annual rate from July through September. The back-to-back contraction is the first since 1991. For all of 2008, the economy expanded 1.3% helped by exports and government tax rebates in the first half of the year. The GDP report is the first for the quarter and will be revised in February and March as more information becomes available.