As 2013 comes to an end, it looks like the world economy will remain stuck in low gear. For those reading the tea leaves of global recovery, the third-quarter GDP numbers offered no solace. While the United States is ahead of the pack, some of its gains could soon be lost, as accumulating inventories begin eroding profits. Despite glimmers of hope, the eurozone and Japan are struggling to cross the 1% threshold for annual economic growth. And the major emerging economies are all slowing, with Russia practically at a standstill.