Plenty of signs are out there that the U.S. construction slump is going to be moderate and short-lived.

The Commerce Dept. reported that spending on construction projects advanced 1.9 percent in October after five consecutive monthly declines, the biggest monthly rise since January and far better than analysts expected.

Moreover, F. W. Dodge pegged new construction contracting at a 5 percent increase in September, pushed by a 7 percent increase in nonresidential spending.

Still more optimism springs from NAHB's forecast of a rebound in new housing early this year after a 10 percent fourth quarter decline.