Although the real estate market and retail sales are in a slump, the net worth of the average American household grew in the fourth quarter of 2006, largely due to the strength of the financial markets, Business Week reports. Net worth grew 2.5% from the previous quarter and 7.4% from the year before, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

And as the personal savings rate goes into negative territory—meaning that people are spending more than they are making—that’s actually good news for retailers.

However, for the past five quarters, mortgage sales have decreased, and many economists are not too optimistic about the stock market so far this year.

 The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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