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What a Difference 10 Hours Makes

6:03 PM, Jul 25, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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“Demand for new U.S. homes probably climbed in June to the highest level in two years, economists project a report today will show, another sign the housing market is recovering,” Bloomberg, midnight.

“Demand for new U.S. homes unexpectedly dropped in June from a two-year high, indicating the housing recovery will be uneven. Purchases decreased to a 350,000 annual rate, down 8.4 percent from the prior month and the weakest since January, the Commerce Department reported today,” Bloomberg, 10:00 a.m.

Could happen to anyone. And the important piece is not that a media report got it wrong and had to go with the "unexpectedly" gambit. What is striking about this story is that housing was supposed to be an outpost of increasingly good news about the economy. Just as Apple was supposed to sustain the market in this earnings season.

The conventional wisdom is that Mitt Romney cannot count on a bad economy to carry him into the White House and this is, undeniably, true. Still, when we have come to expect the latest unexpectedly dismal report from one sector or another, perhaps we could hear from the president about his intentions. More of the same?  

Contrary to what some of his supporters believe, things are not getting better.  If that runs counter to expectations in Chicago and at the White House, perhaps they should check with Bloomberg.

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