In this morning’s data, Retail Sales for December fell -0.7%, worse than expected. Non-store Retailers, Electronics & Appliances, and Food Service & Drinking Places were especially weak, while Gasoline Stations showed some strength. The Control Group, which excludes sales for food, autos, building materials, and gas stations, fell -1.9% in December, much worse than expected. In addition, the negative figures from the previous month were revised lower. Overall, a difficult report indicating consumers are challenged as increasing cases and restrictions cramp their ability to spend. This is highlighted by declines in dining (per OpenTable) and air traveler throughput (per TSA statistics), which are well below the totals from the previous year. Accommodative monetary and fiscal policy are likely to continue for some time, to allow the economy to return to some state of normalcy. In all, bond yields tick lower and equity futures are mixed as we head into the market open.
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