The U.S. economy may have slipped into a recession in the last three months of 2007 as consumer spending slowed more than previously estimated and the housing slump worsened, revised government figures indicated.
The world's largest economy contracted at a 0.2 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter of last year compared with a previously reported 0.6 percent gain, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Growth for the period from 2005 through 2007 was also trimmed....MORE
OR, from EconBrowser:
Not quite a recession
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that U.S. real GDP grew at a 1.9% annual rate in the second quarter of 2008, less than many analysts had been predicting a week ago, but substantially better than the 6-month-ahead predictions for that number that we were hearing back in January....
Why does it matter?
Recessions and Stock Market Bottoms
Market Only Halfway Through Bear Period: AnalystMerrill Lynch's recent wave of write downs is another sign that we're still only halfway through a bear market, said Steve Hochberg, chief market analyst for Elliot Wave International.
"It's a process that's working its way through, but we don't think we're near the end of it yet," Hochberg said. "Bottoms are created when you have the greatest amount of pessimism. It's a little perverse, but I think people need to get scared." (See Video)
Put-call ratios and the volatility index, two measures used to gauge capitulation, have yet to reach levels associated with ending previous bear markets, Hochberg said. The VIX stands in the mid-20s, having briefly hit 30, whereas it read closer to 40 during past market lows.
"I think the VIX can get even above that in this decline," Hochberg said. "Somewhere north of 40, maybe north of 50 would do it, at least on an intermediate basis.">>>MORE