Tags: Q1 | growth | 1.4% | GDP

CNBC: Q1 Growth Forecasts Fall to 1.4 Percent

By    |   Wednesday, 01 April 2015 08:00 AM EDT

The government announced Friday that GDP growth decelerated to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 5 percent in the third. And now economists expect a further slowdown for the first quarter.

CNBC Rapid Update, which provides a median of up to 11 analysts' forecasts for economic growth, fell 0.4 percentage point to 1.4 percent for the first quarter, after Monday's news that consumer spending rose only 0.1 percent in February.

Stephen Stanley of Amherst Pierpont Securities forecasts zero growth for the first quarter. "This is turning into a recurrence of last year's nightmare first quarter, when weather drove the GDP figure deep into negative territory," he writes in a report obtained by CNBC.

The economy shrank 2.1 percent in the first quarter of last year before rebounding to post an expansion of 2.4 percent for the year as a whole.

Stanley and others anticipate a rebound this year too. The median second-quarter projection is for growth of 3.5 percent, according to CNBC Rapid Update.

You can add Morningtar's Robert Johnson and Roland Czerniawski to the list of those a bit skeptical of the economy's strength.

"Following [earlier] jubilation about the U.S. Federal Reserve reducing economic forecasts and not immediately raising rates, the reality of economic activity not booming began to set in" financial market last week, they write on Morningstar.com.

"The big news was that there was now more data to sharpen first-quarter economic forecasts, including a disappointing durable goods report." Durable goods orders dropped 1.4 percent, while existing home sales rose only 1.2 percent in February from January.

"The recent data in terms of weather and energy-related investments have not been positive," the analysts say. Many economists expect growth to slow further this quarter after totaling just 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

"Like 2014, we suspect the weather-related issues will cause at least some snapback in spring and summer," Johnson and Czerniawski write. "However, the slow start may make it difficult for the economy to hit 3 percent" growth this year.

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StreetTalk
The government announced Friday that GDP growth decelerated to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 5 percent in the third. And now economists expect a further slowdown for the first quarter.
Q1, growth, 1.4%, GDP
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2015-00-01
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 08:00 AM
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