US economy still stuck in doldrums

US - The US economy is struggling to break out of the doldrums, with widespread sluggishness infecting retail sales, according to a regular survey of business conditions by the Federal Reserve.

The Fed's "beige book" collection of grassroots reports by its district banks said the housing market was the only bright spot in an otherwise weak economy, the Financial Times reported.

But Alan Greenspan, Fed chairman, sounded an optimistic note yesterday, arguing that US productivity gains in the late

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