The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $353.0 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, but 5.4 percent (±0.5%) above December 2008. Total sales for the 12 months of 2009 were down 6.2 percent (±0.2%) from 2008. Total sales for the October through December 2009 period were up 1.9 percent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago.
Now remember, Census has some funny methodology in that they don’t count sales unless both the prior and current month is returned by the same store. This means they overstate sales during declines in the economy, and understate them during expansions.
Looking inside the report we see a number of surprises in the year-over-year numbers.
Electronics were down – so much for the so-called "strong Christmas sales" in that category that everyone on ToutTV has been crowing about.
Food and beverage purchases were up – price inflation?
Gasoline was up huge, accounting for a huge percentage of the year/over/year increase all on its own. Gee, that happens when the gas price goes up a lot, right?
Indeed, while there were positive changes in other categories (online was up 10%, as just one example) gasoline sales increased in dollar volume by thirty-four percent and accounted for a stunning $8.7 billion of the total $17.9 billion increase – roughly half.
What’s there to like in here? I say "little or nothing" – gas sale increases are not positive, they’re negative as most gasoline demand is inelastic (you need it to get to work) as is food.
The bright lights, such as they were, had clothing up 5% and general merchandise up 2%, both annualized.
Rather uninspiring when one considers that the inelastic components were the big movers on the positive side and that’s not good for discretionary spending capacity.
Overview of retail sales in November. On the surface, retail sales exceeded expectations, but there are a few underlying problems--for instance, increases in gasoline prices, sampling changes, and an unclear effect of a seasonal adjustment. - Ilene
Sales at U.S. retailers rose more than expected in November as consumers spent more on gasoline and a wide range of other goods, data showed on Friday, raising hopes of a self-sustaining economic recovery.
The Commerce Department said total retail sales increased 1.3 percent last month, the largest advance since August, after rising by a downwardly revised 1.1 percent in October. It was the second straight monthly gain. Sales in October were previously reported to have increased 1.4 percent.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales gaining 0.7 percent last month. Overall sales in November were boosted by strong receipts from gasoline stations, increased purchases of motor vehicles and parts, building materials and electronic goods among others. Gasoline sales surged 6 percent, the largest increase since June.
Compared to November last year, sales were up 1.9 percent, the first year-on-year gain since August 2008, a Commerce official said.
The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose more than expected last month, up 1.3 percent in November after a gain of 1.1 percent in October. The November gain was the biggest increase since a 2.4 percent surge in August and brings the year-over-year change (unadjusted for inflation) back into positive territory for the first time in 15 months.
This came as something of a surprise to analysts because retailers across the country had been reporting lackluster sales during the holiday shopping season so far.
Though the overall increase was paced by a 6.0 percent gain in gasoline station sales, due largely to higher gasoline prices, gains were broad based, only three of the 13 retail sales categories posting declines. Excluding gasoline,
The S&P 500 rallied at the open and hit its 0.49% intraday high about 30 minutes into the session. It then slowly sold off to a narrow trading range after the lunch hour and then sold off to its 0.20% closing gain in the close vicinity of its intraday low. The mixed spurt of economic news at 10 AM, strong New Home Sales and weak Richmond Fed Manufacturing didn't seem to be much of a factor in today's trade. The general view among the pundits is that the market mavens (who aren't on vacation) are awaiting the Friday flavor of Fed Chair Yellen's spee...
Vince Foster was a mentor to Hillary when they worked together at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. When Bill was confirmed as the 42nd President of the United States on January 20, 1993, Foster took a role as his Deputy White House Counsel. 6 months later, to the day, Foster was found dead in Fort Marcy Park, along the Potomac River, of a apparent "suicide" resulting from a gun shot from a .38 caliber revolver.
Like a lot of things surrounding the Clintons, Foster's "suicide" has always been shrouded in mystery. A few ...
By The Foundation for Economic Education. Originally published at ValueWalk.
Before Celebrating Gawker’s Demise, Consider This
Forget for a moment the question about whether celebrity sex tapes are “newsworthy.” The real question is whether we want juries determining what is, and what is not “newsworthy.”
In March, a Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan a plum $140 million in his suit against Gawker.com (Bollea v Gawker). Hogan argued that Gawker’s publication of a sex tape was an invasion of privacy, having no “news” value.
Last fall, financial advisors Anthony and Dina Isola came into our firm to talk shop one afternoon. We were blown away by their passion for saving the retirement portfolios of their clients, many of whom are teachers and professors who are inundated almost daily with bad product pitches at their schools.
Within a few weeks, we were talking about hiring them. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made ...
Crude and Natural Gas have stunk it up for the past few years, been a great place to avoid. Could both be creating multi-year trend reversal patterns? CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE Crude and Natty are both correlating the past few years and both are near tests of resistance that could send a message that […]Requires Premium Membership - log in or see subscription options
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Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."
Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.
Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.' Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color). Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...
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Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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