Hot-and-cold data still see US economy gaining

Official figuers point to modest but steady gains in US economic activity, according to initial analyst reactionsUS industrial production and housing starts picked up encouragingly in July but inflation remained stubbornly low, continuing the mixed message on economic strength, official figures showed Tuesday. Industrial production made its largest gain in a year last month, rising 0.7 percent and bounding past analyst forecasts, according to the Federal Reserve. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the rise reflected a rebound in investment in the energy sector, with a 4.7 percent increase in oil and gas well drilling, reversing earlier declines in capital expenditures.

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