March 29, 1997 in Nation/World

Wall Street Troubled By Growth Pace

From Wire Reports

A string of reports showing growing strength in the economy whipsawed markets this week.

Wall Street took Tuesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to bump up interest rates in stride, but wavered under the weight of new signs of a robust economy later in the week.

In reports this week:

The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing U.S. homes soared 9.0 percent in February, bolstered by unusually mild weather, plentiful jobs and continued strong consumer confidence.

The gain to an annual rate of 4.260 million was the second-highest on record.

The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods - expensive items intended to last three years or more - rose a stronger-than-expected 1.5 percent in February following a revised 4.1 percent gain in January.

Americans’ confidence in the economy slipped in March, the Conference Board said. The organization’s overall index of consumer confidence fell to 118.5 in March from a revised 118.9 in February - the highest level in almost eight years. Last month’s index was originally reported as 118.4.

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