Retail sales came in stronger than expected, rising 3.8% in January. Expectations were for a 2% increase and the larger-than-expected increase shows a quick recovery from December’s disappointing 1.9% decline. Despite being hit with inflationary prices, consumers are showing resilience, especially for durable goods such as cars and furniture.
The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index fell 0.3% in January, while expectations were for a 0.2% rise, with the biggest negative contributor being jobless claims.
A surge in existing home sales surprised economists, with a 6.7% increase in January to an annualized 6.5 million closings, compared to the 6.1 million that was expected. Homeowners appear to be motivated by the threat of higher rates and are pushing housing inventories to an even tighter level.
Industrial products also surprised on the upside in January, increasing 1.4% compared to estimates of a 0.5% increase. Though the strength in utilities production may be exaggerating the overall strength of the sector.
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