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Strong Data and Positive Stock Indices

Stocks in positive territory midday.

Every economic data point has come in better than expected this week: the ISM Index, Factory Orders, Construction Spending, ISM Services, the ADP Employment Change. Auto sales, on aggregate, also better than expected.

After a sputtering couple days, all the big cap indices are again at new highs.

We will get December retail sales tomorrow. Family Dollar posted disappointing earnings and guidance, BJ's reported disappointing December comps, but overall the data coming in from the tracking companies has been positive. RetailMetrics, for example, is estimating comparable store sales were up 3.5 percent in December; that would be the best since December 2006.

And Bloomberg reporting that Sears Holding and Urban Outfitters are considering possible bids for JCrew — already agreed to be acquired by TPG Capital and Leonard Green, but they can solicit other bids until January 15.

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