Economic data point to slowing economy

Two closely followed indices of economic activity fell sharply recently, fueling concerns that second quarter growth will be sluggish at best. Reuters: The U.S. economy showed worrisome signs as jobless claims rose sharply last week while ground-breaking at home construction sites tumbled in April and a gauge of underlying inflation pointed to weak demand. Housing has been boosted by interest rates kept low by the Fed, and a third report showed that inflation is not adding any pressure to central bankers to taper back bond buying programs. The data could fuel fears over the impact of a government austerity drive that began in January, and could raise pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep its money printing press running on overdrive as the central bank buys bonds to support the economy. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits climbed last week at the fastest pace in six months, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Initial claims for...(Read Full Post)