Galapagos turtles

Photo: Dan Frommer

So the economy grew slower than expected in Q4.First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,660.5, -74.2, -0.6%
S&P 500: 1,316.3, -2.1, -0.2%
NASDAQ: 2,816.6, +11.3, +0.4%

And now, the top stories:

  • We got our first read of Q4 2011 GDP, and it was disappointing.  GDP climbed 2.8%, which was slower than the 3.0% economists were hoping for.  Government spending fell 2.1%.  Based on this first read, real GDP rose just 1.7% in 2011, which reflects a sharp deceleration from the 3.0% growth we saw in 2010.  Caterpillar: This Is What The World Will Be Like In 2012 >
  • In more positive and current economic news, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index jumped to 75 in January, up from 69.9 in December.  Economists were expecting 74.
  • In a highly anticipated move, Fitch downgraded a bunch of European countries. Specifically, the credit rating agency downgraded Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, and Slovenia. Earlier this month, Fitch warned this was coming.  The markets didn’t budge in what was basically a non-event.
  • Facebook plans to file for its IPO some time next week, reported The Wall Street Journal. Shares are expected to trade under the ticker symbol FB.  Morgan Stanley, which was named as an underwriter in the report, led a broad rally in the financial sector.  And for some reason, a bunch of other web companies like LinkedIn rallied.
  • In other banking news, Jefferies and Cantor Fitzgerald were downgraded by S&P.  Jefferies shares closed down by more than 2%.
  • Don’t Miss: Check Out Frank Holmes’ EPIC Presentation On The China Boom, And What It Means For Commodities >

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