IBTimes UK

The US economy expanded 1.4 percent in the last quarter of 2015, up from an earlier estimate of 0.7 percent growth, spurred by an increase in personal consumption.

The fourth quarter growth was markedly less than the average growth of 2.2 percent in the first three quarters of 2015.

The US Commerce Department said overall, the economy grew 2.4 percent in 2015, matching pace with the growth in 2014. The department said the general picture of economic growth "remains largely the same."

The expansion in the third quarter was 2.0 percent. The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the deceleration reflected downturns in fixed investment and a fall in exports.

"The consumer is back in the driver's seat. There is no sign of recession in these data so this will put a smile on Fed officials' faces and argues for their policy of gradual interest rate normalization to continue," Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, said, Reuters reported.

However, the report said corporate profits decreased $159.6 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with a decrease of $33.0 billion in the third. Dividends decreased $15.1 billion, in contrast to an increase of $26.0 billion in the third.

Profits of domestic financial corporations also decreased $24.0 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of $2.5 billion in the third.

A 10 percent gain in the US dollar versus the currencies of the United States' main trading partners aded more pressure on the profits of multinationals.

A plunge in oil prices also badly affected oil services firms.