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Section: Business News - A closely watched index Tuesday (December 30, 2008) shows home prices in 20 major U.S. cities plunged a record 18 percent in October compared to the same time last year.
U.S. home prices have now fallen to levels not seen since March 2004.
Some economists say the troubled U.S. housing market is at the center of the country's economic woes, and warn the U.S. will not be able to pull out of a recession until the market recovers.
Meanwhile, discounted prices on everything from clothes to electronics are doing little to spark sales or boost consumer confidence.
An industry trade group, the International Council of …