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Commentary: U.S. is better off than Europe

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Several unusual forces are pushing and tugging at markets, making it hard to isolate actual changes in trend.

There were no good clues in the economic data, neither signs of stall nor acceleration. New claims for unemployment insurance in April have been a hair higher than in March, near 450,000 weekly. New mortgage applications are running 31 percent above February, confirming a remarkable spike in home sales, but we won’t know until mid-May how much is due to the expiring tax credit (bet on "a lot").