NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 12

In A Business Roundtable Survey, 87% Of CEOs Expect Higher Sales Over The Next 6 Months, 56% Will Spend More On Investment, And 40% Plan To Hire More Workers. (“Executives Expect Higher Sales But Worry About
Health Costs,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/14/05)

U.S. Consumer Prices Fell 0.6% In Nov., The Largest Drop Since 1949. (“Consumer Prices Plunge 0.6% On Energy,”
MarketWatch, 12/15/05)

In A Manpower, Inc. Survey Of 16,000 Employers, 23% Expect To Increase Hiring In The 1st Quarter Of 2006.
(“Hiring Outlook Remains Strong For First Quarter,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/13/05)

Energy Prices Fell A Record 8%: Gasoline Prices Dropped A Record 16% While Fuel Oil Prices Were Down 6.1%. (“Consumer Prices Plunge 0.6% On
Energy,” MarketWatch, 12/15/05)

Jobs Were Created In 42 States And The District Of Columbia In Nov. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Press Release,
12/16/05)

The University Of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index Rose To 88.7 In Dec., The Highest Reading Since Aug. (“Consumer Sentiment Improves In Dec.,” MarketWatch, 12/9/05) Retail Sales Increased 0.3% In Nov., The 3rd Straight Gain – Sales Have Increased 6.3% In The Past Year.
(“Retail Sales Rise 0.3% In November,” MarketWatch, 12/13/05)

Mississippi (1%), Louisiana (0.9%), Montana (0.8%), Kansas (0.6%), And North Dakota (0.6%) Had The Largest Percentage Increases In Nov.
(Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Press Release, 12/16/05)

Excluding Gasoline, Retail Sales Rose 1% In Nov., The Largest Jump Since July. (“Retail Sales
Rise 0.3% In November,” MarketWatch, 12/13/05)

Business Inventories Increased 0.3% In Oct. While Sales Grew 0.8% (The Largest Gain Since July). (“Lean Inventories
Grow 0.3% In Oct.,” MarketWatch, 12/13/05)

The Empire State Index, A Measure Of Manufacturing Activity In The New York Area, Expanded To Its Highest Level Of 2005 – Rising To 28.7 In Dec. (“New
York Factory Index Jumps In Dec.,” MarketWatch, 12/15/05)

The Inventory-To-Sales Ratio Stayed At A Record Low Of 1.25, Making It More Likely Companies Will Boost Production And Hiring. (“Lean Inventories
Grow 0.3% In Oct.,” MarketWatch, 12/13/05)

Industrial Production (Output At Factories, Mines And Utilities) Rose 0.7% In Nov., After Rising 1.3% In Oct., The Best Gain In 6 Years. (“U.S. Nov. Industrial Output Rises
0.7% As Factories, Oil Gain,” Bloomberg, 12/15/05)

The Average Price Of Crude Oil Fell Nearly $4 In Nov.; Natural Gas Prices Fell To An Average $11.69 Per Million Btus In Nov. From $13.52 In Oct. (“U.S. Nov. Industrial
Output Rises 0.7% As Factories, Oil Gain,” Bloomberg, 12/15/05)

Production Is Up 2.8% In The Past 12 Months.
(“Industrial Output Up Sharply In Nov.,” MarketWatch, 12/15/05)

The Current Account Deficit Narrowed 1% In The 3rd Quarter – The Second Straight Quarterly Decline. (“U.S.
Current Account Narrows Again In Q3,” MarketWatch, 12/16/05)

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