July Retail Sales unexpectedly fell .1% vs an expected clunker led gain of .8%. Ex auto’s, sales fell .6% vs an expected gain of .1%. Ex auto’s and gasoline, sales fell .4% vs forecasts of flat. Motor vehicles, parts sales rose a strong 2.4% due to the clunker plan but it seems that the spending on auto’s took away from spending on other things. Sales fell in furniture, electronics, building materials, food/beverages, sporting goods, and department stores. They rose at restaurant and bars, online retailing, clothing and health/personal care. The consumer is clearly far from out of the woods. Initial Claims were also weaker than expected as they totaled 558k, 13k more than expected while last week was revised up by 4k. Continuing Claims were almost 100k less than expected and down by 141k from last week as payments run out as another 448k filed for extended benefits and emergency unemployment comp rose another 31k.
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