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U.S. Economy Grew At A 5 Percent Rate; Dow Surpasses 18,000

The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly fast 5 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, up sharply from the 3.9 percent of the last revision. The figure blew past the consensus estimate of 4.3 percent put forth by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

It's the fastest the U.S. economy has grown in one quarter in more than a decade: The GDP grew at a 6.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2003.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Dow Tops 18,000 For First Time

Setting a new record, the Dow Jones industrial average zoomed past the 18,000 mark on the strength of Tuesday's news. The S&P 500 index also hit a new high Tuesday morning.

By 10:30 a.m., the Dow had added nearly 80 points, rising to 18,038.51 — a gain of more than 0.4 percent.

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The growth was supported by both personal and government spending, as well as a drop in imports.

"Consumer spending is poised to charge into 2015 as more employment and lower gasoline prices boost household confidence and buying power," Bloomberg reports.

The new estimate of the value of the production of goods and services in the United States from July to September was released Tuesday morning by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The agency says that in the third quarter, "both personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and nonresidential fixed investment increased more than previously estimated."

The gains were also helped by "federal government spending, exports, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment," the agency says.

"Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased," it added.

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