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Retail Sales Preview: Will It Give The Fed Fuel To Raise Rates?

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The U.S. Commerce Department will release retail sales figures for July at 8:30 a.m. ET, with consensus estimates calling for a 0.5 percent gain, according to Bloomberg News. Economist estimates range from 0.2 percent to 1.0 percent.

The expected 0.5 percent increase in July will be a marked improvement over last month's drop in retail sales of 0.3 percent. The less volatile retail sales less autos and gas is also expected to show a solid gain of 0.4 percent, following June's weak reading of -0.2 percent.

Retail sales comprises nearly 50 percent of total consumer spending, according to Econoday. With consumer spending accounting for roughly two-thirds of GDP, Thursday's number will be likely be scrutinized more closely given expectations of a potential September interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The latest Fed Watch numbers based on 30-day Fed Funds futures data from the CME Group put the probability of a quarter point rate hike at 61.4 percent.

S&P 500 futures are showing small gains in front of the retail sales release, up 0.34 percent in pre-market trading.

 

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