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    WASHINGTON-- The sales pace of existing homes ticked down in March to the slowest rate since July 2012, showing weakness in the early spring sales season, though underlying trends signal a firming in market fundamentals, economists said Tuesday. The National Association of Realtors reported that the annual sales pace of existing homes declined 0.2% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual 4.59 million. But March's result beat a consensus among who had expected a sales rate of...

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    WASHINGTON-- Federal Reserve policy is "on the right track" and efforts to try to spur faster growth might be counterproductive, said John Williams, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, in an interview with Bloomberg published Tuesday. Williams predicted the unemployment rate will keep falling and hit 5.5% by the end of 2015. Over the same period, inflation should move higher and come close to the Fed's 2% target, he said. Trying to achieve these goals of full employment and...

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    A second month of a fractional decline in existing home sales, the 0.2% slippage in March, kept sales to a 4.59 million annual rate and the year's sales will now not quite reach the 5 million mark after all, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

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    * Existing home sales dip 0.2 percent in March. * Sales tumble 7.5 percent from March last year. * Median home price rises 7.9 percent from year ago. By Lucia Mutikani. U.S. home resales fell to their lowest level in more than 1-1/2 years in March, but there were signs a recent downward trend that has plagued the housing market may be drawing to an end.

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    WASHINGTON-- Sales of existing homes ticked down 0.2% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million, the slowest pace since July 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Sales rates have trended down since the summer on falling affordability as inventory remained low. Unusually rough weather in recent months likely also curbed demand, NAR said.

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    WASHINGTON-- The Richmond Fed's manufacturing index swung back into positive territory in April, rising to 7 from negative 7 in March. The components of the survey also were positive, as new orders and shipments also turned positive with gains of 19 points and 15 points, respectively. (END) Dow Jones Newswires 04-22-14 1010 ET Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones& Company, Inc..

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    U.S. home resales fell to their lowest level in more than 1-1/2 years in March, but there were signs a recent downward trend that has plagued the housing market may be drawing to an end. The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday home sales slipped 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million units, the lowest level since July 2012.

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    WASHINGTON-- Home prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in February, and were up 6.9% from the year- ago period, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported Tuesday. In January, prices rose a downwardly revised 0.4% compared with the initial estimate of a 0.5% gain. FHFA's data are based on mortgages sold or guaranteed by federally controlled mortgage buyers and.

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    The recovery from the recession has been nasty, brutish and long. It also is shaping up as one of the most enduring. The National Bureau of Economic Research, the semiofficial arbiter of business cycles, judges that the U.S. economy began expanding again in June 2009, just over 58 months ago.

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    By James Saft. An army of U.S. labor force dropouts stands ready to get back in the game when conditions improve, implying wages, prices and interest rates will stay lower for longer.

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    European Central Bank President Mario Draghi provoked some sniggers when he suggested early in March that the euro zone was an "island of stability." But business surveys and consumer sentiment suggest that the euro-zone recovery is proving resilient, even as doubts persist about growth in China and the U.S. In fact, the first quarter may yet prove better than some forecast.

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    The U.S. jobless rate in recent years has been a good gauge of slack in the economy, according to a paper published Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that takes aim at critics who have argued otherwise.

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    A gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose in March, pointing to a pick-up in growth in the months ahead. The Conference Board said on Monday that its Leading Economic Index increased 0.8 percent to 100.9 last month. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to gain 0.7 percent.

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    About 8 million people have signed up for Year 1 of Obamacare, but millions of others are still falling into the law's "coverage gap." They earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, yet don't make enough to get federal subsidies to buy private insurance on an Affordable Care Act exchange.

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    WASHINGTON-- Signaling that growth could accelerate in coming months, the Conference Board's leading economic index rose 0.8% in March, after a 0.5% rise in February, officials said Monday. "This is an optimistic report, but the focus will continue to be on whether improvements in the labor market can be sustained, fueling stronger economic performance over the next few months," said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. (END) Dow Jones Newswires 04-21-14 1004 ET...