TRADE IMPROVES: The deficit narrowed in the broadest gauge of U.S. trade, the current account, to $110.4 billion in the final three months of 2012, down 1.8 percent from the previous quarter. The indicator includes trade in goods and services as well as investment flows,
SHREWD INVESTING: The improvement reflected gains in Americans' earnings on their foreign investments and stronger earnings on service trade, a category that covers such things as airline travel.
LONGER VIEW: For the year, the current account deficit widened to $475 billion, a 1.9 percent increase from 2011. It was the largest annual imbalance since 2008. Many economists expect the current account deficit will widen slightly in 2013.