Happy New Year! On December 18th, the Federal Reserve announced it would begin tapering bond purchases in January, responding to improving economic fundamentals. Days after the landmark announcement, 3rd quarter GDP growth was revised to 4.1% from the prior 3.6% estimate. The surprising high growth was driven by business inventory build up that consumers appear to have absorbed during a strong holiday shopping season. Upticks in US consumer confidence and home prices continue to fuel a recovering economy.