Following the third quarter’s upward revised gross domestic product printing at 5%, the GDP for the fourth quarter took a nose-dive, coming in well below analyst expectations at 2.6%.

Assuming that this initial estimate holds, that means the final 2014 GDP is 2.4%, higher than the 2.2% in 2013 as well as the 2.3% in 2012.

The "second" estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on February 27, 2015.

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, and decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports that were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment and an acceleration in PCE.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, decreased 0.3% in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.4% in the third. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.7%, compared with an increase of 1.6%.

Real personal consumption expenditures increased 4.3% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.2% in the third. Durable goods increased 7.4%, compared with an increase of 9.2%. Nondurable goods increased 4.4%, compared with an increase of 2.5%. Services increased 3.7%, compared with an increase of 2.5%.

Real residential fixed investment increased 4.1%, compared with an increase of 3.2%.

The change in real private inventories added 0.82%age point to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after subtracting 0.03%age point from the third-quarter change. Private businesses increased inventories $113.1 billion in the fourth quarter, following increases of $82.2 billion in the third quarter and $84.8 billion in the second.

 Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 1.8% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 5.0% in the third.