U.S. retail sales rose solidly in November, adding to signs of a strengthening economy that could draw the Federal Reserve closer to reducing the pace of monetary stimulus.
The upbeat economic picture was clouded somewhat by another report on Thursday showing the biggest jump in a year in first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week.
The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.7 percent last month as Americans bought automobiles and a range of other goods. November’s retail sales increase was the largest in five months and followed a 0.6 percent rise in October.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales, which account for about 30 percent of consumer spending, advancing 0.6 percent after a previously reported 0.4 percent gain in October.
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