The Department of Commerce announced on Friday that retail sales for October were up just 0.1% after they were unchanged during both August and September.
The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 22.93 (1.12 percent) to 2,023.04, while the tech-rich NASDAQ Composite lost 77.20 (1.54 percent) at 4,927.88.
USA retail sales rose less than expected in October amid a surprise decline in vehicle purchases, suggesting a slowdown in consumer spending that could temper expectations of a strong pickup in fourth-quarter economic growth.
The toll extended to Amazon, despite last month’s retail sales report showing that online sales were growing strongly.
Holiday spending is projected to jump 3.7 percent this year to $630.5 billion, a gain that would be above the 10-year average in sales growth of 2.5 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. But there’s a worrying sign in the latest retail sales report that the industry might have to shift to a lower gear.
Fresh worries about weak United States consumer spending going into the crucial holiday sent U.S. shares tumbling for the third straight day on Friday. That follows a 0.5 percent drop in September. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped by 2.2 percent. Grocery stores, which typically see receipts rise, saw a 0.3 percent decrease.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic output, represents a key measure of the economy’s health.
Retail sales data can be highly volatile from month to month.
The household spending that makes up about 70 percent of the economy should hold steady in the final three months of the year, according to the medians of economists’ projections as of November 11.
“Job gains, wage growth, savings from lower gasoline prices, low interest rates, and rising housing wealth are all positives for consumer spending in late 2015”, Faucher said.
Personal income, reflecting Americans’ pretax earnings from salaries and investments, climbed 0.1 per cent in September.
If you were expecting today’s retail sales report for October to deliver a blowout gain in line with the surprisingly strong rise in payrolls for last month, today’s release on consumer spending is a disappointment.