The US economy shrank in the fourth quarter last year as Washington slashed defense spending and businesses trimmed inventories ahead of the feared fiscal cliff, Commerce Department data showed Wednesday.
Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day on January 24, 2013 in New York City. The US economy contracted at a rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the government's first estimate Wednesday.
Weather -- especially the superstorm Sandy that battered the northeastern coast at the end of October -- was also a key factor in the economy's 0.1 contraction, the first since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009
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