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U.S. Retail Sales Growth Far Exceeds Estimates In June

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Retail sales in the U.S. climbed much more than expected in the month of June, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose by 0.4 percent in June, matching the downwardly revised increase in May.

Economists had expected retail sales to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.

The report showed a continued increase in sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers, which climbed by 0.7 percent for the second consecutive month.

Excluding the continued auto sales growth, retail sales still rose by 0.4 percent in June after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.4 percent in May.

Ex-auto sales had also been expected to tick up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Sales by non-store retailers showed another substantial increase, surging up by 1.7 percent for the second straight month.

Notable increases in sales by food service and drinking places and miscellaneous store retailers also helped offset a 2.8 percent nosedive in sales by gas stations.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food services, jumped by 0.7 percent in June after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.6 percent in May.

ING Chief International Economist James Knightley said the report suggests consumer spending rose robustly in the second quarter, which he expects to help keep GDP growth above 2 percent.

"Despite this, financial markets continue to price in four 25 basis point interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve over the next 18 months," Knightley said.

He added, "Yet, in an environment where growth is solid, core inflation is close to target, unemployment is near 50-year lows and stock markets are at all-time highs, there seems little justification for anything more than precautionary rate cuts."

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