Today, the government revised its assessment of the US economy’s growth for the second quarter downward more than economists expected this morning. GDP grew at only 1%, down from a previous estimate of 1.3% in July.  But the underlying numbers were more positive. Final sales of domestic product improved to a 1.1% annualized rate from 0.0% in the first quarter. Capital expenditures were revised to 7.9% from 5.7% and non-residential fixed investment was revised to 15.7% from 8.1%. 

The US economy grew at 1.8% in the first quarter according to the Commerce Department’s second and unrevised estimate. Following their monthly meeting, the Federal Reserve said they still expected the economy to recover, but reduced their 2011 GDP growth estimates from 3.3% - 3.7% to 2.7% - 2.9%. They forecasted growth of 3.5% - 4.2% in 2013. Forward looking stock investors have taken the S&P 500 down 5.9% from its April 29th high, but the index remains up 3% for the year. Bonds on the other hand have done well as the economy slumps. The Barclay’s 7-10-year Treasury index is up 5.5%. 

Yesterday, the Commerce Department revised upward its estimate of how fast the economy grew in the first quarter of this year by two tenths of a percent.  The report also showed that corporate profits jumped 31.6% in the quarter ended March, the biggest increase since the first quarter of 1984. 

This week’s Brief will be just that due to Hurricane Isabel’s eminent arrival.  With the likelihood that we might not have power or Internet connections tomorrow, we wanted to get it out today before conditions degrade, as they are doing pretty quickly.