The economy shrank at an annualized 1% in the first quarter, according to revised data from the Commerce Department. The department had estimated 0.1% growth. Economists had generally expected a revision to 0.5% contraction.
Retailers booked their biggest gains since September 2012 last month, and merchants have high hopes for April as shoppers spend on Easter, but the arrival of spring may not be enough to offset the damage done by the frigid winter, experts say. Consumers are expected to spend less on Easter this year than last, according to an NRF survey, and high inventory levels at apparel retailers could bring deeper discounts.
U.S. CMBS cumulative defaults reached 12.96% in the first quarter of 2012, Fitch Ratings says. That's an increase of 25 basis points quarter over quarter. Loans that defaulted in Q1 totaled $1.7 billion.
Office space activity was sluggish in Q1, with the national vacancy rate falling one percentage point to 17.2%, according to Reis. The firm reports that businesses added about 6 million square feet of space in 79 markets.