Economists surveyed by Reuters said that the U.S. economy likely expanded at an annual rate of 3.4% in the first quarter. Data being released today are expected to show that the growth rate cooled from the 5.6% pace in the last three months of 2009, but a revival in consumer spending is expected to point to a sustainable recovery. "The key thing for sustaining and growing the U.S. economy is consumer spending. Everything we know about the first quarter is looking very strong in that area," said Kurt Karl, head of economic research at Swiss Re.

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