Retail Sales fell by 0.1% in July to $342.3 billion, worse than the expected 0.7% growth, after a 0.8% increase in June, revised upward from the originally reported 0.6% advance.  Over the past year, retail sales volume has decreased by 8.3%.  Sales in automobiles proved to be strongest in July as a result of the Cash for Clunkers program.  As a result, Retail Sales excluding autos exhibited a larger decrease, by 0.6%.  Over the past year, retail sales excluding autos have declined by 8.5%.

Initial Claims increased by 4,000 to 558,000 filings for the week ending 08/08, expected to decrease to 542,000, from 554,000 the previous week, revised from 550,000.   The 4-week moving average was 565,000, a decrease of 8,500.  Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment last week was 6,202,000, a decrease of 141,000 from the preceding week’s revised level, bringing the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate down to 4.7% from a revised 4.8% for the week ending 07/25.

Business Inventories are scheduled for release today at 10:00 AM EST and are expected to fall by 1%, following a 1% drop in May to $1,368.1 billion. 

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