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Wonderful time of the year: Sales soar

Sales at U.S. retailers increased more than forecast in November, and optimism among small businesses hit a three-year high — signaling the economy was gaining momentum as the holiday season hit full stride.

Sales at U.S. retailers increased more than forecast in November, and optimism among small businesses hit a three-year high — signaling the economy was gaining momentum as the holiday season hit full stride.

The 0.8 percent gain in purchases followed a 1.7 percent jump in October that was larger than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday in Washington. The National Federation of Independent Business’s sentiment gauge rose by 1.5 points to 93.2, the highest since December 2007, as more companies projected sales will grow.

Stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a sixth day, as the reports eased concern over the outlook for spending after Best Buy reported earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates. Treasury securities fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year benchmark note up to 3.43 percent.

Electronics and appliances stores were among retailers that showed weakness last month as sales fell 0.6 percent. Retailers began cutting prices earlier in November than the past few years and continued through Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Sales at stores open at least a year climbed by the most in eight months from November 2009, industry reports showed.

 
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