Will Surprise GDP Growth Spur the Markets?

It’s been a tough month for the markets. For the month ending November 28, the Dow dropped 0.93 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.16 percent. Only the Nasdaq posted gains, climbing 0.49 percent for the one-month period. But all this post-election, pre-fiscal cliff uncertainty held a surprise for the American economy: real gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic performance, grew an incredible 2.7 percent in the third quarterMoney Plant

Data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on November 29 shows that positive contributions from personal consumption, private inventory investment, federal spending, residential fixed income, and exports managed to edge ahead of negative contributions from local government spending and nonresidential fixed investment.

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The 2.7-percent growth rate is the second estimate released by the bureau, the first being an estimated growth rate of 2.0 released in October. The new estimate is a substantial gain from the 1.3-percent growth recorded in the second quarter.

2011: Q3 2011: Q4 2012: Q1 2012: Q2 2012: Q3
GDP Growth 1.3 4.1 2.0 1.3 2.7

(Percent change from preceding period.)

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projects full-year GDP growth in the United States this year will be 2.2 percent, followed by 2.0 percent in 2013, and 2.8 percent in 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2012, the OECD is projecting U.S. GDP growth of 1.8 percent.

Buoyed by the news, the U.S. equity markets are off to a strong start: Dow: +0.38 percent, S&P 500: +0.79 percent, Nasdaq: +0.68 percent. Oil (NYSE:USO) is also starting strong, climbing 2.2 percent in the morning to $88.40 per barrel.

The BEA will release their third estimate of third-quarter GDP growth on December 20.

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