U.S. Fourth-Quarter Growth Revised Higher

Washington, Jumada II 16, 1437, Mar 25, 2016, SPA — The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster rate in the fourth quarter than previously estimated, the government said Friday, boosted by stronger consumer spending.
The Commerce Department reported that the economy grew at a modest 1.4 percent annual rate in the October to December period, which was better than the 1 percent growth rate estimated a month ago but still below the 2 percent annual growth for the July to September quarter.
Most of the strength of the revision for last quarter came from an increase to consumer spending, particularly involving recreation. Exports also were not as weak as previously thought.
The estimated growth of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was the government’s third and final look at GDP for the fourth quarter.
The report also contained a potentially worrying sign – a weak first estimate of corporate profits. It showed that pretax profits fell 7.8percent in the fourth quarter after a 1.6 percent decline in the third quarter. Fourth quarter profits also were down 11.5 percent from a year earlier, the sharpest annual drop since the fourth quarter of 2008 at the depths of the financial crisis.
However, consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, grew at an annual rate of 2.4percent in the fourth quarter, faster than the 2 percent growth estimated a month ago.
Also boosting growth was a slightly smaller drag from the nation’s trade deficit, which widened in the fourth quarter but not as much as previously thought.

17:17 LOCAL TIME 14:17 GMT