Consumers Power Past Headwinds

Great piece in the Wall Street Journal on consumer spending picking up - this should be welcome news to retailers and multi family property owners.

From the article:

U.S. consumers showed signs of strength in January, taking advantage of low oil prices to increase their spending and offering a welcome counterpoint to the gloom that has gripped investors and roiled markets since the start of the year.

Sales at retail stores and restaurants rose 0.2% in January from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Friday. And December’s retail sales were revised to a 0.2% gain instead of a drop, showing a better end to the year than initially estimated.

The increase offers hope that the U.S. economy, which rests heavily on consumer outlays, can buck a slowdown in the global economy and power through a downturn in manufacturing. Investors cheered, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 313.66 points, or 2%, to 15973.84 in the largest gain this month; it remains down 8.3% for the year.

The retail-sales gains bolster a case that many analysts and economists have been making in recent weeks: While many financial-market gauges are raising concern about the health of the economy, ranging from the decline this year of broad stock indexes to the rise in corporate borrowing costs, direct measures of economic health such as home sales, employment and wages have been sending largely upbeat signals, suggesting that a U.S. expansion wrapping up its seventh year may not be as vulnerable as some fear.

Full Article Here:

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