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But what about rising U.S. auto sales? Top investment strategists at the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit this week said that's a barometer of the economy that is not getting enough attention.

"Autos were just enormous," said Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ in New York.

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On June 2, U.S. seasonally adjusted auto sales hit a rate of 11.63 million in May. A year ago the rate was 9.87 million.

At its most recent peak in 2005, U.S. light vehicle sales reached nearly 17 million units, and the average rate was 16 million in the five years to 2008.

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