Tue May 19 18:50:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Quarter over Quarter 0.4% 0.6% 0.4% 0.3%
Q/Q change - SAAR 1.6% 2.4% 1.5% 1.1%
Year over Year 1.4% -0.7%

The Japanese economy appears to be recovering with its second consecutive quarter of growth. First quarter gross domestic product was up 0.6 percent on the quarter consensus was for a 0.4 percent quarterly gain. On an annualized basis, GDP was up 2.4 percent. However, GDP was down 1.4 percent when compared with the same quarter a year ago. Fourth quarter GDP was revised down to a gain of 0.3 percent on the quarter or an annualized pace of 1.1 percent.

Among the components, domestic demand contributed 0.8 percentage point while net exports subtracted 0.2 percentage point. CAPEX contributed 0.1 percent while inventories added 0.5 percentage point. Private consumption was up 0.4 percent on the quarter as was CAPEX. Government consumption was up 0.1 percent.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of aggregate economic activity and encompasses every sector of the economy.

Gross domestic product is the all-inclusive measure of economic activity. Investors need to closely track the economy because it usually dictates how investments will perform. Investors in the stock market like to see healthy economic growth because robust business activity translates to higher corporate profits. Bond investors are more highly sensitive to inflation and robust economic activity could potentially pave the road to inflation. By tracking economic data such as GDP, investors will know what the economic backdrop is for these markets and their portfolios.

The GDP report contains a treasure-trove of information which not only paints an image of the overall economy, but tells investors about important trends within the big picture. GDP components such as consumer spending, business and residential investment, and price (inflation) indexes illuminate the economy's undercurrents, which can translate to investment opportunities and guidance in managing a portfolio.