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Friday data could prove economy is barely growing

Data showing the economy barely grew in the fourth quarter could set the tone for markets Friday.

The risk is that GDP could be even weaker than the 0.8 percent growth expected by economists, and while the data are backward looking, the market is already fearful about the economy slowing.

"It didn't seem that weak through the fourth quarter. Yet everyone's got estimates below 1 percent. When you dig down into the number, it just looks like a lot of fluky things are dragging us down," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont. "I don't think it's going to be persistent. The broader issue to me is it doesn't seem the economy is as weak as the GDP numbers are going to suggest, and I think we'll see a bounce back."