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The equity market closed up 0.31% on the back of strong retail sales figures and a positive report from the Empire State Manufacturing Survey.   Volume was again light, but breadth was relatively strong.  Mixed credit data and the worries of a sucker’s rally have not deterred the buyers.  Daily Futures summarizes the action across all markets:

U.S. Economy
What a difference a year makes. The U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales were up 2.7% in August, stronger than expected and the best monthly increase since January of 2006. The December U.S. dollar index was down .175 at 76.785.

Excluding auto, retail sales were still up 1.1% in August so the boost was not entirely from the cash for clunkers program. The December U.S. T-bonds closed down 21/32nds at 119.06/32nds.

The U.S. Labor Department said that the producer price index was up 1.7% in August, but down 4.3% from a year ago. The December 2010 eurodollars were down .045 at 98.25.

The New York Federal Reserve said that its regional index of manufacturing increased from 12.08 to 18.88 in September, stronger than expected.

Grains and Cotton
December corn closed up 28.75 cents at $3.365, the highest close in five weeks, with talk of cooler temperatures in the forecast for next week. Because much of this year’s corn and soybean crops were planted later than usual due to a wet spring, traders are concerned that an early frost could hurt yields. November soybeans jumped up 51 cents to $9.60.

Australia’s Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics increased their estimate of the 2009-2010 wheat crop from 22.0 to 22.7 million tons, up from 21.5 million tons a year ago. December wheat finished up 16.5 cents at $4.705 in sympathy with corn.

Rain in the southeastern U.S. is falling on cotton fields at a time when farmers would prefer drier weather for the upcoming harvest. December cotton closed up .81 at 63.02.

October hogs brushed off yesterday’s concerns about a trade war with China and closed up 2.47 at 87.22, the highest close in six weeks, helped by an improvement in cash pork prices.

December coffee closed up 1.50 cents at $1.3460, the highest in four weeks, after yesterday’s big gain, helped by a cheap U.S. dollar and ongoing signs of an improving world economy.

Orange juice
The upcoming Florida crop appears to be in good condition, but was the recent sell-off in orange juice prices overdone? November orange juice closed up 5.15 cents at 95.05.

Today’s positive retail sales report also said that gasoline station sales were up 5.1% in August. November crude oil jumped up $1.93 to $71.30.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics said that consumer prices were up 1.6% in August from a year ago, the smallest annual gain since January of 2005. The December British pound ended down .0083 at $1.6490.

Source: Daily Futures