FedEx (NYSE:FDX), which had already lowered guidance for its fiscal first quarter, is now lowering full-year guidance as part of its earnings release. U.S. GDP for calendar year 2013 has been lowered from 2.4% to 1.9%, and that figure even takes into account extra shipments expected from Microsoft(NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple(NASDAQ:AAPL) product launches.

As the country's major shipper, FedEx is widely regarded as a strong bellwether for the American economy as a whole. The logic is that if shipping goes down, it can be assumed that business is going down as well. For a similar reason, Warren Buffett watches the railroad industry as an economic indicator. FedEx is just one company, though, and when it comes down to it, nobody is very good at forecasting the economy -- so take this news with a grain (or boulder) of salt.

Watch the following video for full commentary by financial analyst Anand Chokkavelu.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.