Fresh signs of economic growth and low inflation gave financial markets a boost this week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 300 points, including a 54-point rise Friday.
In reports this week:
The Labor Department said consumer inflation remained at a modest 0.2 percent in October for a fourth straight month.
The Consumer Price Index increased at a 1.8 percent annual rate during the first 10 months of 1997. If the pace continues for the rest of the year, it would be the smallest annual increase since a 1.1 percent advance in 1986. Consumer prices rose 3.3 percent last year.
Housing starts rose 1.4 percent in October to 1.53 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the most since a 1.55 million rate last February, the Commerce Department reported.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit in goods and services jumped 17 percent to a seasonally adjusted $11.1 billion in September, as U.S. retailers stocked holiday shelves with Chinese-made toys and other goods.