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Booming Economy

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RALEIGH — Panic tends to ensue when the economy grows too fast, or too slow. Rightnow everything seems to be somewhere in the middle. Like the Wall Streetticker, the American economy just keeps rolling along.

Business watcher Dale Gibson says the economy is very healthy, and the latest indicators show no or few problems with inflation.

So what does all this mean to the average consumer who's out therewondering, can I go spend money on big ticket items, or just anything?

"It says two things to me," Gibson says. "One, it's a good time to buy,and two, it's a little more challenging time to save."

Why? Because many things are, in effect, cheaper. Things like airlinetickets, gasoline, even tobacco. And with interest rates low and not likelyto go up anytime soon, money is cheaper too, meaning people are morewilling to go into debt, taking out loans for big things like cars andhouses.

"Most folks with good credit and a job can get a loan," says Gibson.

Sheila Gafka says most homes in the Triangle will sell in under two months.

If you put your house on the market now, it's quite easy to sell as longas it's very competitively priced, and that is the key.

And what about the future? Gibson says things look good for at least theshort term, but you can put 10 economists in the room and get 10 differentanswers.

Like on Wall Street, nothing is guaranteed.

And while the stock market has set records for much of the past two weeks,it found a little bump in the road Tuesday. The Dow closed down just overeleven points, but two other stock market measures set record highs. Youcan never be 100 percent sure of what will happen.

If you'd like to hear more from Dale Gibson, you can read his column onthe WRAL website at www.wral-tv.com.

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