Perhaps you remember the stress that the nation felt around Thanksgiving and all the way through Christmas of last year. That anxiety, for once, had little to do with the holiday season and everything to do with the beginning of 2013. Normally, all we have to worry about on New Year’s Eve is what party we plan on going to or what you plan to wear. Instead, this past New Year’s Eve left many Americans figuratively on the edge of their seats as they waited in anticipation about what was to become of the U.S. economy as we approached that steep fiscal cliff. As it would turn out, we did not take a tumble off of the edge.
“Two pieces of news Monday morning show a corporate sector that was in an expansionary mode at the end of 2012. Companies seemed to have ramped up their spending on big, heavy, long-term investments as the year came to a close. And that, coupled with some other recent numbers, point to one of the more promising trends for the economy in 2013. There are growing signs that Washington’s dysfunctions are less of a drag on the economy than many of us thought.
The Commerce Department said that durable goods orders rose a surprisingly strong 4.6 percent in December, and that orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft—a handy measure for investment spending, rose 0.2 percent.
And while Caterpillar, the giant maker of construction equipment, reported lower fourth quarter sales and profits than a year earlier, the numbers held up better than analysts had expected, and for the full year 2012, the company recorded a whopping 10 percent gain in sales and 15 percent in profits.”
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