The US economy slowed in the final quarter of 2014, with a sharp gain in consumer spending driving growth, but the outlook for the first quarter is even dimmer. As the Federal Reserve mulls raising near-zero interest rates this year, the Commerce Department's third estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth Friday was left unrevised at an annual rate of 2.2 percent following the third quarter's blistering 5.0 percent pace. Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of output in the world's largest economy, was revised upward to 4.4 percent, the strongest gain in nearly nine years, from 4.2 percent. The personal consumption expenditures price index, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure, fell at an annual rate of 0.4 percent after a 1.2 percent rise in third quarter.
US health care giant Johnson & Johnson announced plans Friday to collaborate with Google on surgical robotics. "The companies seek to develop new robotic tools and capabilities for surgeons and operating room professionals that integrate best-in-class medical device technology with leading-edge robotic systems, imaging and data analytics," the statement said. Robotics has been used to improve accuracy in operating rooms for around 15 years, including in heart, eye and prostate surgery.
A rejuvenated Spain recommence their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign at home to Ukraine in Seville on Friday, while the prospect of seeing Harry Kane make his debut is the main attraction as England face Lithuania. In their first outing since a 1-0 friendly loss to Germany in November, reigning European champions Spain put their record of never having lost at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on the line as they face Ukraine in qualifying Group C. Vicente del Bosque's side are second in the group after four games, three points behind Slovakia, who beat Spain in October.