The advance estimate for first quarter GDP came in decidedly below expectations at a 2.5% annual rate, but even that rate belies the fact that real final sales slowed to just 1.5% growth, from 1.8% last quarter. The remaining 1% of the first-quarter growth figure – 40% of the total – represented the accumulation of unsold inventory. My view remains that the U.S. is unlikely to avoid joining the rest of the developed world in a global recession that is already underway, and may well be already underway in the U.S. once data revisions are reflected. The year-over-year growth rates of real GDP and real final sales have declined to just 1.80% and 1.87% respectively, which is the first time in this economic cycle that both have simultaneously declined from above 2.0% to below 1.9% - an occurrence that has been a hallmark of every post-war recession, with remarkably few false signals for such a simple measure. The Fed’s ability to kick-the-can in increments of a few months at a time may allow this time to be different, but investors should recognize that they are relying on that proposition.