Business: Roller-Coaster to Nowhere

Stock market's sag caps a dozen years of declining clout

On many economic fronts, the news was good last week. The cost of living in July rose only at an annual rate of 4.9%, the lowest monthly increase since December; housing starts jumped to an annual rate of more than 2 million, a cool 46% ahead of a year earlier; corporate profits increased 11.4% in the second quarter. But all this was lost on Wall Street, where stock traders continued to fret about everything from interest rates to new tax legislation. The Dow Jones industrial...

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