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Keeping track ...

home sales

sales of previously-owned US homes shot up in December, making 1998 a record year. A trade group reports that December sales rose 13.5 percent to 4.79 million, offering one more sign, last week, of a stronger-than-expected US economy.

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Another report last week showed the economy blazing ahead in the fourth quarter of 1998, growing 5.6 percent, well ahead of the 4.5 percent estimate and bringing growth for the year to 3.9 percent, the same as 1997.

And last week's consumer confidence report showed a 1 percent increase for January.

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