WALL STREET: Mental Block

If stock prices are a leading indicator, as they are often considered to be, then the U.S. economy is in for a roller coaster ride. After starting from a low of 889 in January, the most widely watched gauge of the market, the Dow Jones industrial average, has thumped along like an excited heartbeat, often surging up or down by 15 or more points in a day. During the first half of the year, the general trend had been up, but now a new pattern is emerging: in each of the last two weeks the Dow has spurted to...

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