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Best Buy ‘Episodic’ Consumers Back Bernanke’s Caution

Best Buy Co., whose electronics make it a barometer of discretionary spending, is opening its U.S. stores an hour earlier than usual this holiday season in a bid to win over consumers battered by job losses.

With the unemployment rate at a seven-month high of 9.8 percent and a quarter of U.S. homes worth less than their mortgages, consumers are holding back spending until occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, said Scot Ciccarelli, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York.