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Economy Contracts; Fed Stays Put

Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Economy Contracts: Private-sector demand was strong, but businesses reined in inventories and defense spending plummeted, leading to a surprise 0.1% contraction in economic activity in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department's first estimate. The Journal said analysts pinned the plunge in military spending on factors like the drawdown in Afghanistan and worries that more reductions are coming. The Post said government agencies "began adopting contingency plans, instituted hiring freezes and…

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