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Retail Sales in U.S. Probably Rose as Auto Demand Rebounded

Retail Sales in U.S. Probably Rose as Auto Demand Rebounded
Cars and light trucks sold in November at a 15.5 million annual rate, the fastest pace since February 2008 and up from 14.2 million in October. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Retail sales in the U.S. probably climbed in November on rebounding demand for automobiles, economists said before a report today.

The projected 0.5 percent gain would follow a 0.3 percent drop in October, according to the median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Other reports may show wholesale costs and jobless claims fell.

Car sales jumped last month to a four-year high, in part because Americans in superstorm Sandy’s path replaced damaged vehicles. Federal Reserve policy makers yesterday expanded stimulus in a bid to reduce unemployment and spur the economy as chains such as Macy’s Inc. cut prices to lure customers increasingly concerned about looming tax increases and government cutbacks.

“Consumer spending is nothing to write home about, but it’s growing,” said Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “The labor market has improved, though not quite convincingly. The holiday season will be similar to last year’s, with decent sales growth.”

The Commerce Department’s figures are due at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. Economists’ estimates ranged from increases of 0.1 percent to 2 percent.

Also at 8:30 a.m., Labor Department data may show cheaper fuel costs pushed the producer price index down by 0.5 percent in November after a 0.2 percent drop the prior month, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Another Labor Department report may show the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits fell to 368,000 last week from 370,000, economists predicted.

Auto Sales

Cars and light trucks sold in November at a 15.5 million annual rate, the fastest pace since February 2008 and up from 14.2 million in October when Sandy kept East Coast shoppers away during dealers’ busiest time of the month, according to Ward’s Automotive Group. Ford Motor Co. deliveries of cars and light trucks climbed 6.4 percent and General Motors Co. gained 3.4 percent, the companies said Dec. 3.

Other retailers probably had less success in bouncing back from early weakness related to Sandy. Retail sales excluding autos probably were little changed in November for a second straight month, according to the Bloomberg survey median.

Same-store sales for the more than 20 companies tracked by Swampscott, Massachusetts-based Retail Metrics Inc. rose 1.6 percent, excluding drugstores, trailing the estimate for a 3.5 percent gain, the firm said Nov. 29. That followed a 5 percent rise in October.

Missing Forecasts

Sales at Macy’s, the second-biggest U.S. department-store company, fell 0.7 percent, while the average projection from analysts surveyed by Retail Metrics called for an increase. Kohl’s Corp. of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, said same-store sales fell 5.6 percent, in contrast to estimates for a gain.

Retail shares reflect the concern over holiday sales. The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Retailing Index, which includes Macy’s and Target Corp., has dropped 3 percent since reaching a record high on Nov. 28. The S&P 500 Index has climbed 1.3 percent during the same period.

Building-material outlets may be one area that saw improved demand last month on recovery efforts along the East Coast following Sandy.

Household spending is unlikely to accelerate without faster hiring. Payrolls rose by 146,000 in November following a revised 138,000 increase in October that was less than initially estimated, figures showed last week.

Tax Increases

Americans also face the possibility of more than $600 billion in tax increases and government spending cuts next year unless lawmakers act. Consumer sentiment fell more than forecast in December, reaching a four-month low, according to a report from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan.

Fed policy makers yesterday said the central bank will buy $45 billion a month of Treasury securities starting in January, expanding its asset-purchase program, and linked the outlook for its main interest rate to unemployment and inflation.

“The committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor-market conditions,” they said in the statement.

                         Bloomberg Survey

==============================================================
                            Retail   Retail      PPI  Initial
                             Sales ex-autos            Claims
                              MOM%     MOM%     MOM%   ,000’s
==============================================================
Date of Release              12/13    12/13    12/13    12/13
Observation Period            Nov.     Nov.     Nov.    8-Dec
--------------------------------------------------------------
Median                        0.5%     0.0%    -0.5%      368
Average                       0.5%     0.0%    -0.4%      368
High Forecast                 2.0%     1.0%     0.2%      380
Low Forecast                  0.1%    -1.0%    -1.0%      348
Number of Participants          81       74       74       51
Previous                     -0.3%     0.0%    -0.2%      370
--------------------------------------------------------------
4CAST                         0.6%    -0.1%    -0.5%      375
ABN Amro                      0.5%     ---     -0.5%      360
Action Economics              0.8%     0.4%    -0.5%      367
Aletti Gestielle              0.4%    -0.2%     ---      ---
Ameriprise Financial          0.4%     0.0%    -0.5%      367
Banca Aletti                  0.1%    -0.3%    -0.4%     ---
Bank of the West              0.2%     0.1%    -0.5%     ---
Banorte-IXE                   0.2%     ---      ---      ---
Barclays                      0.5%     0.1%    -0.4%      365
Bayerische Landesbank         0.1%    -0.2%    -0.3%     ---
BBVA                          0.3%     0.2%    -0.3%      365
BMO Capital Markets           0.4%    -0.1%    -0.5%      370
BNP Paribas                   0.3%    -0.6%    -0.9%      375
BofA Merrill Lynch            0.5%    -0.1%    -0.4%      365
Briefing.com                  0.6%     0.2%    -0.5%      375
Capital Economics             1.0%     0.1%    -0.2%     ---
CIBC World Markets            0.4%    -0.2%    -0.6%     ---
Citi                          0.2%    -0.3%    -0.2%      375
ClearView Economics           1.0%     0.5%    -0.2%     ---
Comerica                      2.0%     1.0%    -0.1%     ---
Commerzbank AG                0.5%     0.0%    -0.5%      365
Credit Agricole CIB           0.5%    -0.1%    -0.5%     ---
Credit Suisse                 0.5%    -0.1%    -0.6%      370
Danske Bank A/S               0.5%    -0.2%    -0.3%     ---
Desjardins Group              0.7%     0.0%    -0.7%      370
Deutsche Bank Securities      0.5%    -1.0%    -0.4%      370
Deutsche Postbank AG          0.2%    -0.1%    -0.4%     ---
Exane                         0.5%     0.1%    -0.6%     ---
First Trust Advisors          0.6%    -0.3%    -0.5%      370
FTN Financial                 0.3%    -0.1%    -0.4%     ---
Goldman, Sachs & Co.          0.6%     0.2%    -0.3%     ---
Hammer Partners SA            0.3%     0.1%     ---      ---
Helaba                        0.5%     0.0%    -0.5%      360
High Frequency Economics      0.6%     0.1%    -0.7%      370
HSBC Markets                  0.5%     0.1%    -0.5%      368
Hugh Johnson Advisors         1.1%     0.7%    -0.2%      370
IDEAglobal                    0.5%     0.2%    -0.3%      375
IHS Global Insight            0.8%     0.2%    -0.8%      365
Informa Global Markets        0.7%     0.2%    -0.6%      372
ING Financial Markets         0.7%     0.3%     0.0%     ---
Insight Economics             0.3%     0.0%    -0.6%      375
Intesa Sanpaulo               0.3%    -0.2%    -0.5%     ---
J.P. Morgan Chase             0.6%    -0.2%    -0.4%      365
Janney Montgomery Scott       0.6%    -0.2%     0.0%     ---
Jefferies & Co.               0.4%    -0.4%    -0.5%      365
John Hancock Financial        0.8%     0.5%    -0.1%      366
Landesbank Berlin             0.4%     0.0%    -0.6%      370
Lloyds Bank                   0.5%    -0.2%    -0.5%      370
Maria Fiorini Ramirez         0.3%    -0.2%    -0.5%      370
Market Securities             ---      ---     -0.5%     ---
MET Capital Advisors          0.3%     ---     -0.5%     ---
Mizuho Securities             0.3%    -0.2%    -0.3%      365
Modal Asset                   0.2%     ---      ---      ---
Moody’s Analytics             0.5%     0.1%     0.0%      368
Morgan Stanley & Co.          0.4%    -0.4%    -0.5%      365
National Bank Financial       0.2%     0.0%    -0.5%     ---
Natixis                       0.2%    -0.1%     ---      ---
Nomura Securities             0.6%     0.0%    -0.9%     ---
Nord/LB                       0.4%     0.2%    -0.4%      375
OSK Group/DMG                 0.4%    -0.1%     ---      ---
Oxford Economics              1.1%     0.5%     0.2%      380
Pierpont Securities           0.3%    -0.4%    -0.6%      365
PineBridge Investments        0.6%     0.4%     0.1%      365
PNC Bank                      0.2%     0.0%    -0.4%     ---
Prestige Economics            0.4%     0.1%     ---      ---
Raiffeisenbank International  0.6%     0.2%    -0.2%     ---
Raymond James                 0.5%     0.3%    -0.2%      365
RBC Capital Markets           0.5%     0.0%    -0.4%      370
RBS Securities                0.3%    -0.3%    -0.6%      365
Regions Financial             0.6%     0.2%    -0.6%     ---
Santander                     0.4%     ---      ---      ---
Scotiabank                    0.2%    -0.2%    -0.4%      380
SMBC Nikko Securities         0.8%     0.4%    -0.3%     ---
Societe Generale              0.7%     0.5%    -0.4%      367
Southbay Research             ---      ---      ---       348
Southern Polytechnic State    ---      ---      ---       374
Standard Chartered            0.4%     ---     -0.6%      376
Stone & McCarthy              0.4%    -0.2%    -0.5%      365
TD Securities                 0.3%    -0.4%    -0.7%      365
UBS                           0.5%     0.0%    -1.0%      365
University of Maryland        0.7%     0.1%    -0.8%      370
Wells Fargo & Co.             0.3%    -0.2%    -0.5%     ---
Westpac Banking Co.           0.2%     ---     -0.3%      375
Wrightson ICAP                0.5%     0.0%    -0.6%      360
================================================================

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington at schandra1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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