U.S. manufacturing contracted in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management index. The index was down to 49.5, while the sub-index for new orders contracted by 3.9 points, employment contracted by 3.7 points and price growth was slower. "Some of the narratives stated that the approaching fiscal cliff had something to do with the malaise, which is unsurprising given the stark difference in outcomes -- to go over the cliff and put the economy in recession next year, or achieve a compromise agreement and foster continued modest growth," said MAPI's chief economist, Daniel J. Meckstroth.

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