U.S. retail sales rose in December, a sign the economy regained momentum at the end of the fourth quarter. Fred Katayama reports.
Americans went shopping for cars and trucks in December. That helped boost retail sales 0.6 percent last month, and November's figures were revised higher. It's further evidence the economy ended the fourth quarter with momentum and is poised for stronger growth this year. Helping support consumer spending: rising wages. Market economist Peter Cardillo of First Standard Financial: SOUNDBITE: PETER CARDILLO, CHIEF MARKET ECONOMIST, FIRST STANDARD FINANCIAL, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think in the coming year, consumer spending is going to hold up. If you look at all the indexes that measure the mood of the consumer, they're pretty strong, and they have not really weakened, so that's a good sign. Then, of course, we have a new administration. If Trump should add the stimulus he spoke about, that just adds icing on the cake." Also fueling the total tally: higher receipts at building materials and furniture stores and service stations benefiting from higher gas prices.. But despite the busy holiday season, clothing store sales were flat. The retail data drove the dollar higher against the euro and yen. Consumers may face higher prices in the future. Inflation at the wholesale level rose 0.3 percent last month.