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Market News (01/16/2013)
MADISON, Wis. (1/16/13)

  • U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in December, even though consumers finished their holiday shopping--indicating people looked beyond lawmakers' budget battles and suggesting consumer spending gained momentum at year-end  (Bloomberg.com, The New York Times and Moody's  Economy.com Jan. 15). Sales rose 0.5% following a 0.4% gain in November, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists had forecast a 0.2% retail-sales rise in December, according to a Bloomberg survey and a separate Reuters survey. Growth in incomes, an improving labor market, and discounting by chains boosted consumer spending, which constitutes roughly 70% of the U.S. economy, Bloomberg said. However, at the same time, higher payroll taxes, which kicked in this month, will reduce take-home pay and make it harder for households to increase their purchases, Bloomberg added …
  • For the third consecutive month, U.S. wholesale (producer) prices slid 0.2% in December, indicating that inflation remained tame as energy costs continue to decrease (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Moody's Economy.com Jan. 15). The producer-price index--which is a gauge of how much manufacturers and wholesalers paid for finished goods--fell to a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in December from November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. A 0.9% decrease in food prices and a 0.3% decline in energy costs drove the index's drop, the Journal said …


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