Is GDP all it's cracked up to be?

It seems we live and die by the latest reading on gross domestic product, purported to be the final market value of all the goods and services produced within our borders over a certain period of time. When GDP came in at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent last week -- the first rise in a year and ahead of economists' expectations -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) soared 200 points on the news.

Then, the next day, the nay-saying, nitpicking and deconstruction of the data commenced, helping the Dow cough up 250 points in a session.