Signs suggest better economy if 'cliff' is averted - Article Photos 1/2

In this Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, photo, a man examines a row of washers and dryers while shopping at a Sears store in Henderson, Nev. U.S. companies increased their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in November, with a second consecutive monthly gain in a key category that reflects businesses’ investment plans. The Commerce Department reported Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, that orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November, compared to October, when orders had risen 1.1 percent. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)