With less than half an hour until the close, we asked the Atlanta Fed - the most accurate predictor of GDP - which was scheduled to post an update of its Q4 GDP NowCast following today's ugly economic data, if it was was planning on releasing its latest Q4 GDP estimate before or after the close, something it usually does just before noon.
And, at close ahead of a three day weekend, the economists in charge of the sacred GDP excel model, finally did what they were supposed to do hours later and revised Q4 GDP growth to just 0.6%, a number which some - such as Barclays - would say is too high in light of the economic drop the US economy has experienced in the past month. Note the timestamp:
Here is the argument:
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2015 is 0.6 percent on January 15, down from 0.8 percent on January 8. The forecast for fourth quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 2.0 percent to 1.7 percent after this morning's retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the industrial production release from the Federal Reserve.
As a reminder 0.6% is how much the US economy "grew" by in the revised Q1 2015 quarter when the "harsh weather" was blamed for unleashing hell on US GDP. Whose fault will it be this time?
Worse, it means that Yellen raised rates in a quarter in which the US economy may well end up contracting in nominal terms.
Finally, perhaps the fact that the Atlanta Fed waited as long as it did, is confirmation that bad news for the economy is now bad news for stocks, at least until the Fed does fold and either cut or launch more QE.