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The US recovery still marches along, following more of a rollercoaster trajectory rather than a straight line. The summer slowdown that started in May looked like the start of a double-dip recession to many analysts, only to post improving job and retail sales data in July, followed by disappointing job numbers in August. We have long taken the position that monthly vital signs will remain volatile as long as a high degree of global uncertainty persists. Despite massive improvements in key economic fundamentals since the end of the Great Recession, corporate and consumer attitudes have been tainted by macro concerns, particularly the European debt crisis and the fear that they may erupt into another shock.

Thus far, major shocks on both sides of Atlantic have been averted, but a lackluster recovery persists. At least a moderate turn for the better may be on the horizon as the European Union finally announced a broad “back stop” to its debt crisis by committing to buy government bonds for its hardest hit nations. This will lower borrowing costs and give these ailing economies more time to get finances in order, which in turn should keep Europe's recession from worsening.

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