A sharp drop in the sale of previously owned homes in the U.S. during December fueled fear that the housing recovery is faltering. From November to December, seasonally adjusted sales plummeted 16.7%, the National Association of Realtors said. It marked the biggest decline since the group started collecting the data 42 years ago. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, said the statistic highlights the point that "the housing market is on government life support."

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