Summary Box: Higher imports widens trade gap

STRONGER DEMAND: Americans bigger appetite for imported goods, including clothes and household appliances, helped lift the broadest measure of the U.S. trade deficit in the July-September quarter to $127.2 billion. It was the fifth straight quarter the deficit had increased.

WHAT'S IT MEAN? The increase in imports could be viewed as a healing sign for the economy as Americans regain their appetite to spend.

U.S. EXPORTS SEE SOLID GAINS: Demand from foreign buyers also rose for U.S.-made goods. A falling dollar makes American-made goods less expensive, and thus, more attractive to foreign customers.