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Manufacturing grows in November

Other indicators rise as economy shows surprising resilience

NEW YORK -- Manufacturing expanded in November in industries ranging from apparel to tobacco, a widely watched survey showed yesterday, and several other reports painted a picture of a US economy gaining strength.

The Commerce Department reported that personal spending rose 0.2 percent in October, down from September's 0.5 percent gain but better than the 0.5 percent decrease in August when the Gulf Coast region was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Incomes rose 0.4 percent in October after being skewed for two months by the storm's fallout.

''Energy pricing is still a concern," said Tom Kopanski, vice president of automation at Siemens Energy and Automation, an Atlanta based unit of the German electronics giant Siemens AG. But ''we are seeing a good level of confidence there. If you look at different [business] segments, our customers are telling us the demand is there."

On Wall Street, stocks soared as investors welcomed inflation-friendly economic data and hoped the November rally would continue through year-end. The Dow Jones industrials rose 106.70, or 0.99 percent, to 10,912.57. The move higher nearly reversed the market's previous three days of losses, Broader stock indicators also rose sharply. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 15.19, or 1.22 percent, to 1,264.67, and the Nasdaq Composite index surged 34.35, or 1.54 percent, to 2,267.

Kopanski said his company, which makes electronics for metal cutting tools used by car and aircraft makers as well as technology for bottlers, has seen demand increase, suggesting consumers are still willing to spend.

Kopanski's optimism was shared by other business executives surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management, which said its manufacturing index stood at 58.1 last month. While that is down slightly from October's reading of 59.1, any reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding. November marked the 30th consecutive month of growth in the manufacturing segment.

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