Investors were taken aback by the Commerce Department's report that U.S. retail sales fell 0.1% in July, as opposed to expectations sales would gain 0.8%. Excluding autos, retail sales declined 0.6% versus an expected gain of 0.1%. Read full story.
"The decline in retail sales is quite startling to say the least," Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist, Miller Tabak & Co., wrote in an emailed note.
"The cash for clunkers program was expected to have had quite an effect on retail sales [but] motor vehicle and parts rose only 2.4%; expectations had looked for a gain more than double," he said. (more)