US Real GDP growth in the 4th quarter was revised slightly higher (again) to 0.4% versus a prior estimate of 0.1%. Early indications for growth in the 1st quarter are favorable but the latest surveys of consumer confidence and big-ticket spending plans cast some doubt over the sizeable year-to-date gains in equities. The real impact of higher taxes for nearly all working Americans and lower growth in government expenditures (sequestration) may become more evident in the 2nd quarter. The future direction of the Italian government is still in limbo weeks after the national election and Cypriot banks have reopened after locking out depositors. Eurozone sovereign spreads to German Bund yields have expanded and the Euro has dropped in response to these ongoing issues.