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Consumer Stocks May Lag as U.S. Restaurant Sales Slow: Retail

Restaurant stocks are underperforming the U.S. market, a signal that shares of retail companies also may be poised to lag behind.

Income growth, one of the primary drivers of discretionary spending, remains lackluster, as does the labor market, said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets Corp. in New York. Even with unemployment falling below 9 percent in November for the first time since March, consumers still “lack the ammunition to drive spending at this point,” he said.