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Over to the US, where retail sales for July had risen 0.4 percent from the previous month, further signaling the economic recovery is on track. But the gains had been concentrated in auto and gasoline sales, indicating consumer spending remains tame.
The mighty U.S. consumer showed signs of trepidation last month.
On the surface, total U.S. retail sales rose in July, the first gain since April, but the rise was slightly slower than anticipated.
There was a big jump in sales at gasoline stations, which most analysts say was due to higher gasoline prices.
Excluding gasoline and auto activity, U.S. sales were actually down for the month, according to the Commerce Department.
A reluctant consumer is not what the economy needs right now. Consumer spending accounts for nearly three-quarters of economic growth, growth which has faltered during the summer months.
And the latest read on consumer attitudes offers little hope. Consumer sentiment edged higher in early August, according to the Thomson Reuters-University of Michigan survey, but hasn't improved much from last year as job worries weigh.
JC Penney says customers are still under pressure in this weak economy. The department store retailer's quarterly forecast was below estimates after better-than-expected results last quarter.
Meanwhile, consumers don't have to worry much about inflation, which fell to a 40-year low in July.