January 31, 1998 in Nation/World

Economic Signs Signal Slowdown

From Wire Reports


Some strong earnings reports and encouraging words from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan helped financial markets break out of their slump this week, but profit-taking snapped the upward trend Friday.

After three days of gains, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 66.52 to 7,906.50 Friday, trimming the week’s gain to 205.76.

In economic reports this week:

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slipped to 127.3 in January from a 28-year high of 136.2 in December as the turmoil in the Pacific sent financial markets swooning.

Orders for durable goods fell 6.1 percent overall to a seasonally adjusted $183.6 billion in December, the Commerce Department said, the worst decline in six years. A 74 percent plunge in aircraft orders and a decline in demand for metals accounted for the decrease.

For the year, though, orders rose 7.1 percent for durable goods.

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