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Personal spending rose less than forecast in November

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

WASHINGTON — A report released Friday by the Commerce Department showed that U.S. consumer spending edged up 0.1% in November, less than forecast and reflecting an economy that continues to struggle.

Incomes also grew 0.1% in November, the weakest in three months, after a 0.4% rise in October. The median estimate for spending in a Bloomberg News survey of economists called for a 0.3% advance.

“In the absence of a significant pickup in income, we won’t see a big boost in spending,” Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York, told Bloomberg. “The momentum will slow in the fourth quarter, but the economy is still growing.”

Projections among the 79 economists in the Bloomberg survey for spending ranged from increases of 0.2% to 0.6%.

Wages and salaries decreased 0.1% after a 0.6% gain.

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Consumer confidence up in United States, global economy still dark cloud

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the United States increased 0.5% in November to 118 (baseline based on 100 in 2004), following a 0.9% increase in October, and a 0.1% increase in September, the Conference Board announced Thursday.

“November’s increase in the LEI for the U.S. was widespread among the leading indicators and continues to suggest that the risk of an economic downturn in the near term has receded," stated Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board. "Interest rate spread and housing permits made the largest contributions to the LEI this month, overcoming a falling average workweek in manufacturing, which reversed its October gain. The CEI also rose on improving employment and personal income although industrial production fell in November.”

"The LEI is pointing to continued growth this winter, possibly even gaining momentum by spring," added Ken Goldstein, also an economist at the Conference Board. "For the second month in a row, building permits made a relatively strong contribution and there is a chance that the long decline in housing is finally slowing. However, this somewhat positive outlook for the domestic economy is at odds with a global economy that appears to be losing steam. In particular, a deeper-than-expected recession in Europe could easily derail the outlook for the U.S. economy.”

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Eastman Kodak sells Eastman Gelatine subsidiary

BY Allison Cerra

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In an effort to focus on its digital growth initiatives and accelerate its transformation to a digital company, Eastman Kodak said it is selling its Eastman Gelatine business to Rousselot, which is part of the Vion Food Group.

Eastman Gel develops gelatin primarily for use in photographic movie film and paper emulsions, but has expanded its business into pharmaceutical, edible protein and food/confectionary categories, Kodak said. The acquisition of the business by Rousselot will help strengthen the latter’s position in both growing pharmaceutical markets and its current position in North America, Vion vice chairman Dirk Kloosterboer said.

Financial details of the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

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