SHOPPERS SITTING ON THEIR WALLETS


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U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3 percent from December to January.
The increase came in sales by auto dealers, gas stations, restaurants, and home and garden supply stores.
Outside of those categories, sales were flat from month to month. Analysts had expected an increase.
Retail sales figures for last October and November have been revised downward, leading analysts to believe that December’s sales also were less than have been reported.
That weaker fourth-quarter retail performance has persisted into 2020’s first quarter.
U.S. factory output fared worse, falling 0.1 percent in January from December.
The weak numbers led Goldman Sachs to drop its estimate for U.S. first-quarter growth from 1.7 percent to 1.4. Barclays reduced its forecast from 1.5 percent to 1.1.
TREND FORECAST: With crippling student debt and credit card debt poised to reach a record $1 trillion and consumer debt overall estimated at more than $14 trillion… even if the coronavirus wild card does not strike America, consumer spending will remain weak well into 2020 and will further weaken as the economic slowdown persists.
 

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