U.S. economy grew by 2.6 percent in fourth quarter, beating estimate


People attend a job fair in Detroit, Michigan in this file photo taken March 1, 2014. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)
THE ECONOMY
U.S. growth rate ahead of estimate

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly more than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years.

The fourth-quarter growth rate was a bit stronger than the 2.4 percent estimate made last month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The revision reflects stronger consumer spending, which rose at an annual rate of 3.3 percent — its best quarterly pace since 2010.

Even with the upward revision, growth in the overall economy slowed from a 4.1 percent pace in the July-September quarter. Analysts think growth has slowed even more in the current January-March period to around a 2 percent annual rate. A harsh winter has disrupted factory production and kept people away from shopping malls.

The report Thursday on overall economic growth as measured by the gross domestic product was the government’s third and final look at the fourth quarter GDP. For all of 2013, the economy grew at a lackluster 1.9 percent, after growth of 2.8 percent in 2012.

— Associated Press

BANKRUPTCY
Lehman creditors set to receive $18 billion

Lehman Brothers Holdings’ creditors are set to receive about $17.9 billion next week in the fifth such distribution since the company filed the biggest U.S. bankruptcy, at the peak of the financial crisis.

The payout, scheduled for Thursday, will include about $11.7 billion for third-party claims and $1.1 billion for recently allowed claims that would have been paid by earlier distributions, lawyers for the defunct investment bank said Thursday in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. A sixth payout is expected around Sept. 30, Lehman said.

Lehman’s estate has paid more than $56 billion to third-party creditors — a figure that is expected to reach at least $80.6 billion before the case is resolved, court records show. That estimate, made public in July, is an increase from the $65 billion recovery projected in the company’s liquidation plan, approved in December 2011.

— Bloomberg News

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