STATE OF BUSINESS: Out of Hibernation

Like a bear emerging from hibernation, the stock market last week shook off the lethargy of many weeks and moved vigorously ahead. Starting the week at 479.04 on the Dow-Jones industrial average, the market advanced in heavy trading (marked by the busiest day in a year) to end the week at 486.72, the biggest price advance in three months. To many economists, it was a cheering sign that the market at last was taking note of the favorable business news it has been bearishly ignoring.

The Department of Commerce reported that the rate of...

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