DETROIT (AP) — Superstorm Sandy gave an extra boost to U.S. auto sales, making November the best month for carmakers in nearly five years.
Toyota, Volkswagen and Chrysler were among the companies posting impressive increases for November, which is normally a lackluster month because of colder weather and holiday distractions. Only General Motors was left struggling to explain yet another month of weak growth.
Industry sales rose 15 percent from a year earlier to 1.1 million, according to AutoData. That was their fastest pace since January 2008. U.S. sales would reach 15.5 million this year if they stayed at November's rate, far higher than the 14.3 million rate in the first 10 months of this year.
Americans are more confident in the economy, a key driver of auto sales. Home values are rising, hiring is up and auto financing remains readily available. And besides just feeling better, people need to replace aging cars or vehicles damaged by Sandy.
in November to 3-year low
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009, one month after the Great Recession ended. Worries about automatic tax increases in the New Year cut demand for factory orders and manufacturing jobs.
The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing conditions fell to a reading of 49.5. That's down from 51.7 in October.
Readings above 50 signal growth, while readings below indicate contraction. Manufacturing grew in October for only the second time since May. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.
New Alzheimer's drug
studies offer patients hope
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — For Alzheimer's patients and their families, desperate for an effective treatment for the epidemic disease, there's hope from new studies starting up and insights from recent ones that didn't quite pan out.
If the new studies succeed, a medicine that slows or even stops progression of the brain-destroying disease might be ready in three to five years, said Dr. William H. Thies, chief medical officer of the Alzheimer's Association. The group assists patients and caregivers, lobbies for more research and helps fund studies.
After decades of stumbles and dozens of promising experimental drugs failing, scientists think they're now on the right track. They're targeting what they believe are the mechanisms to arrest a disease that steadily steals patients' personality and ability to remember, think and care for themselves.