A flurry of economic reports on Monday paint a mixed picture of the U.S. economy.

The Commerce Department says sales of newly-built homes dropped 9.2 percent in January.

Home sales have been central to the U.S. economic expansion over the past year, boosted by low mortgage rates that allowed home buyers to take out larger loans.

A separate report on manufacturing in the Chicago area showed factory work expanding at an accelerated rate in February.

Economists track the key area for clues about the nation-wide health of the troubled factory sector.

Still another government report showed U.S. consumer spending did not grow in January, while a measure of inflation rose.

Consumer spending offers indications of the overall health of the U.S. economy.

Some information for this report provided by Bloomberg, AP, AFP and Reuters.