A string of upbeat US economic data out Thursday may be seen as casting still more doubt on the Fed's capacity to deliver on market expectations for aggressive rate cuts without facing charges of overt politicization.
Retail sales rose 0.7% in July, more than doubling estimates and printing ahead of even the most optimistic forecast from 70 economists. The range was -0.4% to 0.6%. It was the fifth consecutive monthly gain.
The less-autos figure was 1%, against expectations of a 0.4% rise. The control group also saw its largest advance since March.
As a reminder, personal consumption shouldered most of the burden during the second quarter for the US economy. Signs of a resilient consumer are good news at a time when recession fears are rampant. In the same vein, Walmart reported results on Thursday that included impressive comps and upbeat guidance.
Meanwhile, the Empire manufacturing index beat estimates for August, coming in at 4.8, near the middle of the range of guesses forecasts. That's up slightly from 4.3 in July, when the headline general business conditions index rebounded into positive territory after posting its largest monthly decline on record in June.
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