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New Reports Signal Continued Growth

Wed., Aug. 27, 1997

New readings on consumer confidence and manufacturing suggest the economy is headed for more strength in the second half of the year, yet again raising concerns about inflation.

The Conference Board, a private business group, reported Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence showed an unexpected rise in August, climbing to 129.1 from 126.3 in July.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported that orders for big-ticket durable goods fell 0.6 percent in July. But excluding aircraft and defense purchases, which can skew month-to-month numbers, the figures showed the economy continuing to expand.

The National Association of Realtors also reported that sales of existing homes rose 2.2 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.24 million units. Sales rose in the West and Northeast but fell in the Midwest and were unchanged in the South.

Consumers in August were more confident about current business conditions than they were in July.



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