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Car sales should show economic engine running

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Stocks set for rebound after rough December start

November car sales should be robust, confirming the trend of an improving economy and a consumer that is willing to spend.

Vehicle sales for November are expected to come in at an annualized selling pace of 16.7 to 17 million, above the current full year rate of 16.5 million.

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That comes in the face of spotty economic data from last week that missed the mark and the National Retail Federation's disappointing report that Black Friday weekend sales fell 11 percent.

"(Stocks) started off trading on the retail report that looked kind of funky," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery. He said the report likely reflected a shopping pattern that includes more online shopping and holiday spending over a longer period of time.

He said the fact that the ISM manufacturing report Monday was nearly flat with last month was a positive. It fell slightly to 58.7 from a 3-1/2 year high of 59 in October.