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Bernanke says recovery on track despite headwinds

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The European debt crisis is likely to have only a "modest" impact on the U.S. economic recovery as long as Wall Street stabilizes, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday.

Testifying before the House Budget Committee, Bernanke struck a more confident tone that the recovery will remain intact despite problems in Europe as well as stubbornly high unemployment and a fragile housing market here at home.

However, the pace of the expansion â¿¿ 3.5 percent this year by the Fed's estimate â¿¿ won't be strong enough to quickly bring relief to the 15 million Americans who are unemployed. The unemployment rate, now at 9.7 percent, would likely see only a "slow reduction," Bernanke warned.

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Fed survey finds a modest recovery is spreading

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ For the first time since the beginning of the recession, economic growth â¿¿ modest and fragile, but growth nonetheless â¿¿ has spread to every corner of the country.

A survey released Wednesday found economic activity was improving across all 12 regions of the nation tracked by the Federal Reserve. It was the first clean sweep in the report since 2007.

Metal producers in Chicago and St. Louis cranked out more steel. Makers of drugs and medical equipment in the Northeast did better business. And sales of summer clothes were strong in fashion-conscious New York.

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Drop in energy stocks punctures early market rally

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The stock market had another late-day slide, this time because of fears that the Gulf oil spill will send BP into bankruptcy court.

The Dow Jones industrials, up more than 125 points at midday, closed down 41. Most selling came in the last hour, the third time in four days that stocks had a late-day drop.

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