Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's suggestion that the economy will rebound in the months ahead didn't sit well with Wall Street. Investors wanted some kind of signal that the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates when it meets later this month.

Mr. Bernanke, according to an Associated Press report, believes some of the factors that have caused the rather anemic economy for the first quarter are behind us. Those include such items as a bloated trade deficit, inventory investment cuts from business and weak federal defense spending.

He acknowledged the sluggish housing market in some parts of the country will continue to be a drag on the overall economy. It'll continue until builders can pare down a backlog of unsold homes.

Thus far, those problems haven't spread beyond the housing industry. "We have not seen major spillovers from housing onto other sectors of the economy," he told an international monetary conference.

Consumer spending remains strong and business investment in big-ticket items appears to be picking up, two gauges that Wall Street also watches closely.

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