This week saw the advance release of the US 4th quarter GDP estimate, which reported a 0.1 percent decline (compared to the 3rd quarter). This falls well below economic forecasts, but despite the decline, the US GDP for 2012 is better than 2011 (see chart below). The PMI Index for manufacturing advanced to 50.2 (50+ indicates economic expansion in the manufacturing sector) and retail sales advanced 0.5 percent (0.3 percent ex-auto). Durable orders advanced 4.6 percent (1.3 percent ex-transportation) largely due to an increase in aircraft ordering and, outside of transportation, an increase in primary metals orders. Below is a snapshot of a few annualized economic indicators over the last four years.