Retail sales were up last month, but the .3% rise failed to meet expectations, and if automobile sales are excluded, sales actually fell by .4%—the steepest drop in a year. The August sales figures provide more fodder for an interest-rate cut when the Fed meets next week. “The consumer is pulling back a bit,” one analyst tells Bloomberg.
Predictions had put the August gain at .5%, Bloomberg reports, after the July retail figure was revised upwards, from .3% to .5%. Industrial production gained 0.2%, less than economists anticipated, in a separate report from the Fed. Confidence is growing that the Fed will slash rates to ease the housing-catalyzed market slump; the benchmark target rate is expected to be cut by a quarter percentage point to 5.00.