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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary- February 17, 2012

- Industrial production was flat in January, as utilities production plunged 2.5 percent while manufacturing expanded at a 0.7 percent pace.

. Nondurable consumer goods production remained robust, with strong gains in autos, appliances, furniture, and carpeting production, while business equipment production was driven by gains in information processing, industrial equipment, and transit.

- Warm weather and higher gas prices weighed heavily on clothing sales, which were flat during January.

- The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose just 0.1 percent in January, with slightly fewer businesses planning to hire and fewer seeing positive earnings trends.

- Homebuilders have been helped by the warm weather and low mortgage rates, as the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index improved again in early February to 29, the highest reading since May 2007.

. Solid gains were seen in both the present and future single-family sales components, and buyer traffic continued to recover.

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