US economic growth in the second quarter was revised higher, with GDP coming in at 1.7% on an annual basis as opposed to the 1.5% indicated at the flash reading. It follows an upward revision of UK growth from -0.7% to -0.5% in the same three months of the year, whilst Spain was subject to downward revisions to its 2010 and 2011 growth, as well as a second quarter contraction that was more severe than preliminary estimates suggested. Other than highlighting the difficulty in calculating this data, the news regarding the US was of particular interest to those trying to assess whether the Federal Reserve will act to stimulate what is still considered to be a sluggish economy. The consensus from economists today is that the data is unlikely to deter the Fed from acting, given they were in line with expectations and the US has experienced some weak data in recent weeks.
Trading volumes in the US were around 30% of this year’s average, signalling low activity in equity markets that were essentially flat at the time of writing. Elsewhere, there appeared to be hints towards a risk off day, with European stocks slightly lower, and gold, oil and the euro all falling. The FTSE 100 lost just over 0.5% to close at 5743.