Merrill Expects Upward Revision In GDP

When the U.S. Commerce Department reports its revised numbers for fourth-quarter 2004 GDP on Feb. 25, the growth figure could be more than a half percentage point higher than the 3.1% rate initially reported.

Actual December inventories of wholesalers and retailers, excluding motor vehicles, were "significantly stronger" than the department's Bureau of Economic Analysis had assumed in its initial calculations, says Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.The financial firm expects Commerce to revise the seasonally adjusted annual GDP growth rate for the final quarter of 2004 to 3.7% or 3.8%.

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