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Wednesday 16th of June 2010
June 14, 2010    

Mixed data for world’s largest economy

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by Kay Murchie
Mixed data for world’s largest economy

Figures at the end of last week revealed mixed messages for the US economy with an unexpected fall in retail sales and a rise in consumer confidence.

Firstly, the Commerce Department revealed a 1.2% fall in retail sales for the month of May.

The fall was the first in eight months and analysts had expected a 0.4%.

However, US retail sales are up 6.9% on levels a year ago but are still well below levels seen prior to the recession.

Car and petrol sales contributed to the monthly falls, down 1.7% and 3.3% respectively. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of total US economic activity, making it a main driver of growth.

Meanwhile, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers’ index of consumer sentiment rose to 75.5 in June from 73.6 the previous month.

The reading was slightly higher than the 74.5 expected by analysts.

The two sets of figures followed in quick succession. US stocks fell on the retail sales data but recovered after the consumer confidence report was published.

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