Retailers felt the benefit of further loosening of consumers’ purse strings in May as 11 of 13 major categories registered advancing sales. Only healthcare and personal care spending experienced a setback following two consecutive monthly advances, while spending on goods in the miscellaneous category was unchanged.
The slowdown in purchases followed a 0.2% advance in June, the Commerce Department reported today. The median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.2% gain. Excluding cars, sales rose 0.1%.
European stocks declined from a six-year high as a report showing lower-than-estimated inflation in the euro area prompted investors to weigh the outlook for interest rates before Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting.