"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

October Retail Sales Expectations

Today, we're looking at Retail Sales. This is one of those mother-huge market movers. Private consumption (aka consumer spending) represents about two-thirds of GDP, and retail sales are about as solid a measure of consumer spending as you can get, so you can pretty much consider this a dry run for the GDP figures (due out 11/23).Now last month (and Retail Sales is a lagging data point), we saw expectation-beating results for September. Retail sales were up 0.6% (beating expectations by 10 bps), while retail sales ex-automobile came in at a healthy (but not expectation-beating) 0.4% increase. This has led to some optimistic projections for October. Overall retail sales are expected to be up 0.7% for the month, while the retail sales less autos are projected to hold fast at another 0.4% increase for the month.

Remember: these are month over month changes. If September was up 0.4%, and October was up 0.4%, that means an effective 8.16% increase from August.

The actual results aren't due out until 8:30 AM (Eastern time) tomorrow. The Econoday Economic Calendar, which is my go-to for what economic indicators to keep an eye out for and when to look for them, will have a summary of the results within minutes. If you prefer to go to the source, you can also check the U.S. Census Bureau's Monthly & Annual Retail Trade page. I'll also have some comments on them once they're out.

If the numbers meet or beat expectations, look for the market to be up in a delirious frenzy of consumption. If not, expect doom and despair.
Unless I'm wrong. It's been known to happen, once or twice.

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