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Reports indicate good, bad news for housing market, economy

Reports are out Tuesday indicating both good and bad news for the country's housing market and the economy. As investors and market watchers keep an eye on the unfolding mortgage mess, two economic reports released Tuesday appear to indicate the troubles in the housing market could be impacting the economy overall. A monthly survey from the Institute for Supply Management, a group of corporate purchasing executives, showed business activity slowed in June. New orders for manufactured goods dropped that month. It wasn't all bad news, though. Production, employment and export indices increased. Exports of heavy machinery such as airplanes and agricultural equipment, has been fueled in large part because of a weak dollar. That makes us goods cheaper for foreign companies to buy. Elsewhere, the commerce department reported that construction spending dropped 0.4 percent in July. The decline was due largely to the drop in spending in the residential home sector which has seen 17 consecutive months of declines. But there was some good news. Nonresidential construction -- that's shopping centers, office buildings and hotels -- reached an all-time high.

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