Those expectations went out the window early Friday, however, after national data showed Germany, Europe's largest economy, blew away already-strong expectations for growth. Germany posted a quarterly GDP expansion of 2.2% versus a forecast for 1.4% growth.
Germany's growth was fueled in large part by strong gains in industrial production as the export dynamo benefitted from a sharp resurgence in international trade amid strong demand from emerging markets. Read about Germany's second-quarter performance.
France, which grew at a 0.6% rate, also exceeded expectations.
Meanwhile, in those places like Greece and Ireland which went the austerity route Republicans seem to love so very, very much. Not so much:
Greece's economy shrank a bigger than expected 1.5% in the second quarter, flash estimates from the statistics service (ELSTAT) showed on Thursday, and analysts predicted more pain to come as austerity measures bite.