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Consumer wrapup: An improved jobs situation and a break upward in the value of houses seems to...

Consumer wrapup: An improved jobs situation and a break upward in the value of houses seems to be trumping higher payroll taxes as consumers continue to spend more than some of the more dire forecasts for the first half of 2012 foreshadowed. By sector, Staples (XLP), Discretionary (XLY), and Retail (XRT) are all double-digit gainers for the year, while defensive-oriented plays (PG, CLX, CL, REV, GIS) have been busy tracking higher. A couple of retail powerhouses - Wal-Mart (WMT) and TJX Companies (TJX) - haven't joined the 2013 frivolity just yet and the department store group (M, SKS, DDS, JWN, KSS, JCP) has lagged.
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