The economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Real GDP increased 2.6 percent, after rising 1.7 percent in the second quarter. Brightening economic data, including improvements to new-and-existing home sales and consumer spending, have boosted expectations for the fourth quarter and 2011, with many economists raising their growth estimates from previous forecasts. Eight banks and research firms surveyed by The Wall Street Journal have upped their fourth-quarter growth estimates to an average of 3.5 percent from 2.6 percent in early December. More here.