Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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May Retail Sales Better than Expected

Retail sales fell for the first time in 11 months, mostly pulled down by a sharp decrease in auto sales, according to a government report released on Tuesday.

The Commerce Department reported that total retail sales slipped .2 percent in May - better than analysts’ expectations of a .4 percent decline. Excluding vehicles and auto parts sales, retail sales increased .3 percent. The stock market responded positively to the report and had its best day so far for June.

Impacted by the disaster in Japan, auto sales were down .7 percent for the month and experienced their largest decline since February 2010 - but were still up by 5.4 percent from a year ago.

The advance estimate for retail spending was $387.1 billion in May, which was 7.7 percent higher than they were a year ago.

May gas station sales were up 22.3 percent from a year ago, reflecting this year’s higher gas prices. According to Pricelockcom, the average prices for a gallon of regular gas was $2.84 in May 2010 and $3.91 in May 2011.

Non-store retail sales - which includes online merchants, mail-order houses, and door-to-door sales - for May were up 15.9 percent from last year.

Separately, a quarterly survey of 135 CEOs from top U.S. companies found that half expect to increase employment over the next six months, according to a report released on Tuesday by Business Roundtable. The percentage of CEOs who said this in the second quarter (51%) changed little from the percentage who said this in the first quarter (52%). In both the first and second quarters, 11% of CEOs said they expected to decrease employment. The remainder of CEOs expected no change in employment.

And though most CEOs (87%) felt that sales would increase over the next six months, it was down from the percentage who felt that way in the first quarter (92%). Roughly the same percentage of CEOs (61%) expected to increase capital spending over the next six months, down from 62% who said this in the first quarter.

The organization also said CEOs estimated that real GDP will grow by 2.8 percent in 2011, down slightly from the 2.9 percent projected in the first quarter of 2011.

U.S. Department of Commerce
Business Roundltable
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Thursday, 30 November 2023

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