The US economy sputtered—as expected—in the fourth quarter of 2007, growing at the slowest rate since 2002, MarketWatch reports. Estimated growth of the US gross domestic product was 0.6% for the last three months of 2007, matching economists' forecasts. Consumer spending grew 2.3%, and exports increased 6.5%, both beating the Commerce Department’s predictions.
Economists expected the bad news to have little effect on a market currently absorbed with credit issues and looking for confirmation of recession. "The credit crunch and rising inflation teamed to put the economy flat on its back in the final three months of 2007," one said. Analysts expect flat GDP growth for the current quarter, with a 1% drop in the second.