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Hard times for mortgage holders

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Mortgage holders are having a harder time keeping a roof over their heads. The number of foreclosures on homes is way up, say the latest figures. There is a mixed forecast for the ailing US economy. First, the number of us homes receiving foreclosure notices doubled during the July to September months of this year from the same period a year ago. During those months 446,726 homes were foreclosed on, compared with 223, 363 homes that were last year. Deutschebank chief economist Joseph Lavorgna said, "Housing has corrected big time, and we've yet to feel the aftershocks, but I am telling you they are coming and you're going to see slower consumer spending." In fact, just this morning, slower consumer spending and surging oil prices caused Wall Street to plunge in early trading. Gone was Wednesday's optimism -- when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the second time in two months. Barclay's Bank Senior economist Julia Lynn Coronado said, "They are worried about what the turbulence in some of the financial markets mean for the broader economy. So look at it as taking out a little insurance." And still, some economists worry the cut could fuel inflation. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reports inflation has improved modestly over the last year -- but the fed doesn't take food and energy prices into account. Bear Stearns chief US economist John Ryding said, "I think it may only be a matter of time before public perceptions about inflation start changing to start worrying about higher inflation." It has been a roller coaster ride. Earlier this week, the government announced that the economy is doing better than expected. It grew 3.9 per cent from July to September. The Federal Reserve will meet again in December and then January. Rates could be cut again, though the fed sent a strong message not to expect such a move.

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