The week’s economic data was positive on balance. Given that the economy is largely consumer-driven investors are keenly interested in the health and intentions of the US consumer. The data on his health is largely positive. Wal-Mart and Costco were upbeat in their projections for the next quarter earlier this week. Today, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased 0.6% in September, more than forecast, following a 0.3% gain the prior month.