December Retail Sales Disappoint

Last Updated Jan 14, 2010 12:39 PM EST

The Census Bureau's Retail Sales report was a bummer. Consensus estimates were forecasting a 0.5% increase in December, but in fact sales dropped 0.3% from the previous month. I guess there's a bit of comfort in that sales were up 5.4% from a year ago, but hard to feel good comparing current circumstances to when we were in the teeth of the crisis.

Here's a quick primer on retail sales:

Investors didn't seem to pay much attention to the report. They seem to be counting on the fact that weak economic data will allow the Fed to keep rates at rock bottom levels.

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.