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Gross Domestic Product, Michigan Sentiment and Investors Sentiment
By Peter S. Iuvara

The U.S. economy turned in its weakest performance over the last eight years during the 2Q 2001 as businesses cut down on investment spending and continued to decrease excess inventories.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic health, increased at an annual rate of 0.7% in the second quarter of this year. This inflation adjusted number came in lower then both last quarter's 1.3% gain, and the first call consensus estimate of 0.9% for the quarter.

Thus far, as of 11:11 AM EST, the GDP announcement has minimally effect the markets. The Dow is down 44.63 to 10411.00, and the Nasdaq is down just 0.38 to 2022.58. Investors seem to be shrugging off these numbers, largely because no one really expected a strong performance just yet, and some even predicted a negative number.

The University of Michigan's official July consumer sentiment index dropped slightly to 92.4 from 92.6 in June. Economists had forecast the final index to read 93.6. This number however is well above the low of 90.6 set back in February.

This number is sometimes broken down into two parts; how consumers feel about the economy right now, and what their expectations are for the future.

The "current condition" index, fell to 98.6 from last month's reading of 101.6. On the other hand, the expectation component of the index rose to 88.4 from 86.9 in June.

Overall, this report looks to be optimistic. Although current market conditions may remain challenging over the near term, the US consumer expects the intermediate and long-term outlook to be much better than we have seen.

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