Fighting flatline after stimulus

Commentary: Housing comeback is key

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Markets this week lost faith in recovery. Although it is far too soon to call a double-dip back into economic shrinkage, the May-June deceleration has the policy question in everyone’s mind: Just what is going to get us out of this?

Today’s total-focus job data for June was the only report to arrive as-estimated, adding a measly 100,000 private-sector jobs.

The gaps between forecast and actual in other data best describe the slowdown: the ISM manufacturing index was 59.7 in May, forecast 59, actual 56.2; May pending home sales were forecast to decline 12.7 percent on tax-credit expiration, actual was a 30 percent free-fall.