A gauge of U.S. consumer spending rose in September as Americans likely snapped up Apple’s new iPhone and bought leisure goods, but falling sales of automobiles pointed to sluggish economic growth during the third quarter.
Other data on Tuesday showed lackluster demand was keeping inflation muted, with wholesale prices unexpectedly falling last month. That should provide the Federal Reserve with ammunition to maintain monthly bond purchases for a while as it tries to nurse the economy back to health.
Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline and building materials, increased 0.5 percent last month after a 0.2 percent gain in August, Commerce Department figures showed.
The so-called core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, which is expected to suffer under the impact of a 16-day government shutdown in October as politicians faced off over the U.S. budget. Economists polled by Reuters had expected core retail sales to increase 0.4 percent in September.
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