Today’s significant number was the Retail Sales figure released by the Census Bureau. This number is released in two parts – 1) Retail Sales and 2) Retail Sales excluding Autos. A figure excluding the sale of autos is released as auto sales may be choppy and the result of incentives. The reason for excluding automobile sales is the choppy nature of that market due to incentives. The reason the market cares about this number is that over 60% of the Gross Domestic Product in the United States comes from consumer spending. The monthly Retail Sales report provides insight into this significant piece of the economy.
Today’s report showed Retail Sales climbing 0.1% in December over November. The expectation was for a rise of 0.3% so this initially appears to be a disappointment. However, the figures for both October and November were revised higher which makes up for the shortfall.