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Trend Indicators Remain Bearish

--Retail Sales Ex. Motor Vehicle Flat; Ex. Mtr Veh and Gas +0.1%
By Alexandra Kelley
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The value of retail sales rose 0.4% in August, 
well above the 0.2% gain expected by markets. This followed a 
upwardly revised 0.8% in the previous month, according to data 
released Friday by the Commerce Department. 
     Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales saw no change after turning 
in 1.0% in July. The year over year rate for retail sales excluding 
motor vehicle, however, increased by 3.5%. Control group sales excluding 
motor vehicle, gasoline station, and building material sales) was flat 
as well. 
     Here are some of the key takeaways from the data: 
     -  Gasoline station sales declined by 0.9% and motor vehicle sales 
rose, accelerating by 1.8%. Outside of those two more volatile 
categories, retail trade sales were still up by 0.6%.   
     -  Nonstore retailers, referring to digital stores and mail-order 
purchases, jumped by 1.6% in August, suggesting strong e-commerce 
shopping. 
     -  Building material and garden equipment sales also increased, 
moving to 1.4% growth from a 1.0% increase in July. This jump speaks to 
the unmet demand for housing in the U.S. market and implies more 
construction in future months.  
     - Food services & drinking places reported a sizeable decline of 
1.2% in August as opposed to the steady 0.6% growth seen in July. 
 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 
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