America's private companies added 204,000 new jobs in August, the payroll processing company ADP reported Thursday. That's less than the 220,000 economists had predicted, and July's number was revised down by 6,000 to 212,000. That gives the Federal Reserve yet another reason to hold off raising interest rates for as long as it can in 2015, which should bolster stock prices.
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Aside from the Fed's maneuvers, data on trade and car sales are more than enough to suggest the economic recovery didn't step backward in August. Auto manufacturers reported that August sales hit an annual rate of 17.5 million, their fastest pace since before the recession, and enough to keep Ford (F) , General Motors (GM) and others in the money. The narrower trade deficit suggests growth is in the same 3% a year range we've been hearing. As before, pretty much the only weak spot is in housing.
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