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By Jason Stipp and Jeremy Glaser | 06-27-2013 02:00 PM

The Friday Five

Five stats from the market and the stories behind them. This week: consumers drag down GDP, home sales hit a six-year high, and target-date funds reach $500 billion in assets.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar and welcome to The Friday Five: five stats from the market and the stories behind them.

Joining me, as always, for The Friday Five is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason.

Stipp: What do you have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: We're going to look at the numbers 1.8%, 6, 16.5%, $500 billion, and 1%.

Stipp: 1.8% was the third read on first-quarter GDP. It was a lot lower than just about everybody expected, maybe even including the Fed?

Glaser: I think so. Most times between that second revision and that third revision of GDP--this was the third revision--you don't really see a big change, and we saw [a big change] this time.

We went [down] to 1.8%; economists were expecting 2.4%. And the biggest driver of this, as Bob Johnson, our economist, has discussed, was consumer weakness. The amount that [consumers] were spending was just less than everyone had initially expected.

They're just under pressure. A lot of these issues that we've be talking about for a long time--the payroll tax cut, stagnant wage growth, employment getting better but still not great--really is weighing on people, and they're just not out there spending as much, particularly in categories like travel or restaurants, and things like that.

But what's striking about this is just how far away it is from the Fed's projections of where they see the economy this year, and particularly next year. With all the worry about the Fed taper, it's missed that their economic projections were actually fairly robust and pretty bullish. If the economy doesn't really meet those projections, the timeframe that they laid out for when they were going to take their foot off the accelerator might be more aggressive than what's actually going to happen.

So I think if we continue to see some of this relatively soft data from consumers and from elsewhere, particularly if it shows up in the jobs data, we could hear less talk about the Fed taper. I think that's something that would sooth a lot of concerns that we're going to see some tightening relatively soon.

Stipp: It's been six years since we saw pending home sales as high as we got in the data this week. What's behind that--and more importantly, will it be sustainable?

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