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Retail sales remain strong

October retail sales exceeded expectations (+0.5% vs. +0.3%), and this is one more sign that the economic slowdown which troubled financial markets in late summer is now a thing of the past. Retail sales have advanced 7.2% over the past year and continue to post new highs, despite the fact that there are 6.5 million fewer people working today than there were at the early-2008 high in employment. The U.S. economy has proved far more dynamic and resilient than expectations, and that is an important factor driving equity prices higher even as the world frets over the possible consequences of Eurozone sovereign debt defaults. U.S. economic growth can trump all sorts of ills.

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