Holiday retail sales gave the National Association of Credit Management's (NACM) Credit Managers' Index (CMI) a boost to a high not seen since May, but it remained below year-ago levels as many companies, including some in the mortgage space, are still in distress.

The December CMI rose to 54.4 from 53.5 the previous month, according to the NACM. A year ago, the CMI was at 55.8.

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