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December auto sales beat expectations handily with a record 18.43 million unit annualized sales rate a gain of 3.1% over November. Once again the mainstream media runs with this headline, because it sounds much better than the annualized sales numbers that increased just .4% to 17.55 million units, despite strong sales in the final 4-months. That said 2016 sales for some of the largest companies fell for the first time since 2009 including Volkswagen -3.3%, Toyota -2%, GM -1.3%, Fiat-Chrysler -.4% and Ford -.1% so again the headline isn’t anywhere near as fantastic as it sounds.

The December Institute for Supply Manufacturing services index aka the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index was unchanged at 57.2, employment slipped to 53.8, new orders increased to 61.6 while prices gained .7 to 57, a solid report overall.

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