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Markets brace for volatility as a Fed rate hike looms

Besides commodity prices, the other big variable for the US economy at this time of year is the level of consumer spending. This is peak season for retail sales, probably the single biggest contributor to GDP.

STOCKS in the United States came close to their highs of the year last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing around the 18,000 mark, after statements from the central bank that indicated its collective mind was made up - and the strongest jobs report of the year. Together, these