“This past Holiday season, consumers stayed home and gauged the prospects of a Biden economy, retail sales sank on the cracks!”— Paul Ebeling
US retail sales declined at the close of the Holiday shopping season, wrapping up a difficult year for the nation’s merchants as The China Virus forced store closures and kept consumers at home.
Total retail receipts decreased 0.7% in December from November after a downwardly revised 1.4% drop in November. The median forecast in a survey of economists called for no change in December. The aftermath of Mr. Biden’s Presidential win proved fractious for the consumer.
The disappointing retail results reflected weaker sales at department stores, online merchants and restaurants, indicating the biggest part of the economy, consumer spending stopped in Q-4.
While additional fiscal support for households will help bolster Americans’ financial positions, the next handful of months for retailers may be challenging until many more Americans are vaccinated and travel and leisure activity is restored, plus they are expected to tighten their purse strings going forward.
Fed Chairman Powell said Thursday that the economy is far from where the Fed would like it to be, but that “there could be quite exuberant spending and we could see some upward pressure on prices” as medical emergency fades.
Mr. Biden released details of another aid/relief/stimulus package Thursday, which proposes additional government aid/relief/stimulus payments of $1,400.
We expect that money will be looked after carefully by the American consumer.
Note: Joe Biden supposedly got 14-M more votes then Mr. Hussein Obama and his Inauguration is going to be a like the militarized zone in Bagdad.
Such thing’s that make us say, What?
“Unfortunately for America but an indication of what’s to come under a non-business trained President, retail sales for December were down, following another decline for November. Collectively, it was the third straight month with no growth.
“Typically this signals a lack of confidence in a newly elected President and the potential start of a recession so it will be interesting to see how January goes which is the beginning in the Fall of Consumer Confidence Index, a physiological driver to our economy.
“Much to Washington’s surprise and to an anti-Trump attitude, retail sales fell 0.7% in December from the month prior.
“Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected sales to be flat. The Commerce Department also revised November’s data lower from a 1.1% decline to a 1.4% drop. America’s economic recovery took a hit in the final months of 2020, and the retail sector has not been spared.
“Rising Covid-19 infections and renewed lockdown measures, as well as job losses, have weighed on consumer spending and were a drag on retail sales. The economy shed 140,000 jobs in December, the first decline since April. The pandemic has forced consumer to shop more online. But not even e-commerce was spared from the December dip, falling 5.8% from the prior month. Compared with the same period a year ago, however, online sales are still up more than 19%, which sent a mixed but not overly encouraging signal of the status of the economy.
“Otherwise, the December declines were broad based: electronics and appliance stores saw sales decline 4.9% from the previous month, sporting goods’ retailers fell 0.8%, and furniture and home furnishing stores registered a decline of 0.6%.
“The further slump in retail sales in December confirms that the continued surge in coronavirus infections is now weighing heavily on the economy,” Andrew Hunter, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients Friday. This was driven by a fall in Consumer confidence which fell in December, declining to 88.6 of a possible 100 points from 92.9 in November, according to a survey from The Conference Board. Today’s News Retail
“The decline in confidence to a four-month low reported by the Conference Board on Tuesday was the latest indication that the economic recovery from the pandemic was losing steam, also because of delays by Congress to approve another rescue package plus the lack of confidence in the new economic policies of the just-elected President.
“Most concerning to me is the open immigration policy that the new President has stated he will follow. This will only continue to contribute with a negative effect on the lower income families for it will tend to drive wages in this sector downward. Eleven million new citizen immigrations will be a burden on our economy while robbing existing job opportunities. It will be just too much to absorb in a recovering economy and unfortunately Congress will learn to regret such a potential decision.
“The government confirmed on Tuesday that the economy grew at a historic pace in the third quarter, juiced up by more than $3 trillion in pandemic relief. Congress on Monday approved additional fiscal stimulus worth almost $900 billion, but economists said this was insufficient and too late to counter a bleak winter of rising coronavirus infections and layoffs.
“The storm clouds are growing darker and the worst may be yet to come,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “The new coronavirus outbreak means the economy will be flirting with disaster in the first quarter of 2021 where a downturn is possible despite Congress throwing more money our way with another stimulus bonus filled with pork-barreled spending..”
“The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index dropped to a reading of 88.6 this month, the lowest since August, from 92.9 in November. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index ticking up to 97.0 in December. The index was at 132.6 in February 2020,” says world renounded economist and regular HeffX-LTN contributor Bruce WD Barren.
Friday, the benchmark US stock market indexes finished at: DJIA -177.26 to 30814.26, NAS Comp -114.14 to 12998.50, S&P 500 -27.29 to 3768.25
Volume: Trade on the NYSE came in at 1.23-B/shares exchanged.
HeffX-LTN’s overall technical outlook for the major US stock market indexes at the wk ended 15 January 2021 is Neutral through Very Bullish.
- Russell 2000 +7.5% YTD
- NAS Comp +0.9% YTD
- DJIA +0.7% YTD
- S&P 500 +0.3% YTD
Looking Ahead: The US stock market will be closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!