Higher gasoline prices and a surge in sales of automobiles led Retail Sales higher in June, but the gains were offset by a decline in home improvement stores, bars and restaurants and department stores. Retail Sales rose by 0.4%, lower than the 0.7% expected and down from the 0.5% gain in May. Retail Sales account for 30% of consumer spending. When stripping out autos, sales were unchanged last month.
Manufacturing activity in the New York State region rose in early July as the index rose to 9.46 from 7.8 in June and above the 3.6 expected. However, within the report it showed that the employment component indicated little positive momentum.
In corporate earnings news, Citigroup reported that earnings jumped 42% in the second quarter as the banking giant cut costs and expanded its international presence. The bank earned $1.34 a share, exceeding the $1.19 that was expected and up from the $1 a share in the same quarter last year.
On the lighter side, Twinkies have made their long awaited return today to store shelves after being off the market for about a year. The maker of the long time treat, Hostess, went bankrupt last year due to problems with management and a stand-off with its second biggest union. Twinkies have made their new debut to Wal-Mart to 3,000 of the retail giant’s stores on Sunday.