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Retail sales: What to know in markets Friday

Heidi Chung
Reporter

Investors will get another pulse on the health of the U.S. consumer when the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for the month of January. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect retail sales rose 0.3% in January. Core retail sales, excluding volatile auto and gas, are expected to have accelerated 0.3%.

“Healthy consumer fundamentals have been supporting personal spending activity. The improvement in the January ISM non-manufacturing survey likely reflects strong consumer demand to some degree,” according to Nomura. “In addition, warmer-than-usual temperatures during January may have supported a pickup in receipts at building-material and home improvement stores. Sales at auto dealerships likely rose decently, which would be consistent with a rebound in WardsAuto’s light vehicle sales data for January.”

Shoppers shelter under umbrellas as they hunt for bargains during the Boxing Day sales in central London on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)

J.P.Morgan economists echoed Nomura’s prediction. “The labor market remained healthy in January and we have seen high levels of consumer sentiment in recent reports, suggesting that there are favorable fundamentals in place for consumer spending.

Economic data releases scheduled for Friday include the following: Import Price Index month-on-month, January (-0.2% expected, 0.3% in December); Retail Sales month-on-month, January (0.3% expected, 0.3% in December); Retail Sales excluding Auto month-on-month, January (0.3% expected, 0.7% in December); Retail Sales excluding Auto & Gas month-on-month, January (0.3% expected, 0.5% in December); Industrial Production month-on-month, January (-0.2% expected, -0.3% in December); Capacity Utilization, January (76.8% expected, 77.0% in December); University of Michigan Sentiment, February preliminary (99.2 expected, 99.8 prior).

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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