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GDP Growth More Positive in Revised Report

Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an annual rate of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Thursday. The report, coming just three days before the end of the first quarter, was an improvement over the first two GDP reports that showed the economy contracted by 0.1 percent then improved by 0.1 percent. The main drag on the fourth quarter economy--as it had been in the previous two fourth-quarter reports--continued to be government spending.

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Bay State Home Sales Fall in February

Home sales for Massachusetts stood at 2,246 in February, down 5 percent from 2,366 sales in February 2012. According to The Warren Group, the yearly decline was the first in the state since December 2011.

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Consumer Confidence Staggers in March as Sequester Hits

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 59.7 from February's reading of 68.0 (which was revised down from 69.6). The decline wipes out most of the gains observed last month and brings the index to its second lowest reading so far this year. According to Lynn Franco, director or economic indicators at The Conference Board, the retreat in consumer confidence was driven primarily by a sharp decline in respondents' economic outlook, "although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions."

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New Home Sales in Steepest Drop in Two Years

New home sales fell 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 in February, the sharpest drop in two years, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a smaller drop to 425,000 from January's originally reported sales of 437,000. January sales were revised down to 431,000. The sharp drop in sales combined with a steep price increase suggests builders are facing some price pushback from buyers for new homes even as supplies of existing single-family homes remain at historic lows.

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February Case-Shiller Indices Post Strongest Gain Since 2006

Home prices posted their strongest yearly gain in almost seven years in January, according to the Case-Shiller 10- and 20-city Home Price Indices released Tuesday. Home prices rose year-over-year in all 20 of the cities in the Case-Shiller survey. Prices rose in nine cities in January over December while falling in eight. Prices were unchanged in the remaining three. December data were revised, showing prices rose month-over-month in 10 cities compared with nine in the original report. The report showed a steady improvement in prices in the West.

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