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Harsh weather tests optimisim over U.S. economy

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WASHINGTON - Unusually cold weather will take a bite out of U.S. economic growth this quarter, but a rebound seems likely on the horizon and expectations for stronger growth this year have not changed.

Economists estimate that freezing temperatures and the ice and snow storms that have blanketed much of the nation will shave as much as half a percentage point from gross domestic product in the first quarter.

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