Friday, July 30, 2004

"When it comes to choosing a president, results matter."

--George W. Bush, in his newly unveiled stump speech

Economy Weaker Than Expected in 2nd Qtr.

The U.S. economy braked more sharply than expected in the second quarter as shoppers curbed their free-spending ways amid a sharp advance in energy prices, government data released on Friday showed.

U.S. gross domestic product, a measure of total output within the nation's borders, climbed at a modest 3 percent annual pace in the April-June period after an upwardly revised 4.5 percent clip at the start of the year, the Commerce Department said.

Wall Street economists had looked for GDP to advance at a 3.6 percent pace after the previously reported rise of 3.9 percent in the first quarter....

Consumer spending rose at just a 1 percent rate in the second quarter, a mere shadow of the robust 4.1 percent first-quarter gain and the slowest increase since 2001, when the economy was in recession.

Economists had looked for a consumer-led slowdown, but could be surprised by the extent shoppers pulled in their horns....


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