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Forget that jobless claims were revised upward, even higher than initial projections. The New Year is a time for optimism. As California CU League Economist Dwight Johnston wrote in his commentary in the Trust for Credit Unions e-newsletter, “This was the fifth year in a row of triple-digit gains on the first trading day of the year.”

But while the stock market rallies, the economy does not necessarily follow. In addition to the unemployment numbers, the consumer confidence index is depressed and home-refinance applications, accounting for 82% of total mortgage activity, have declined for three consecutive weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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