WASHINGTON -- A fresh set of government statistical report issued yesterday shows the U.S. economy is at a virtual standstill with only a hint of inflation, fueling bond market expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to ease monetary policy once again.

"This economy is flat. It's not moving right now," said C. Douglas Lee, chief economist for County NatWest USA. "We're not seeing any inflation, and all the data are consistent with a pretty stagnant picture," he said.

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