Retail Sales (consumer spending)
The first of this morning’s four economic releases was the highly important Retail Sales report for July. It revealed a 1.2% increase in sales, falling short of the 1.9% that was expected. The headline number means consumers spent less last month than expected, but more than in June. However, a secondary reading that tracks sales excluding more costly and volatile auto transactions came in stronger than expected. These numbers give us mixed indications of how strong consumer spending was last month. Therefore, we are considering the data neutral for mortgage rates.