Shares of retailers and other consumer companies fell amid signs that the reduction in supplemental unemployment payments was taking its toll on retail sales.
Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in August from July, the Commerce Department said, a tally that was shy of economist estimates and followed a 0.9% rate of growth in July.
"As everybody predicted, when the extra $600-a-week ran out," for the vast number of unemployed, the growth in sales slowed accordingly, said Oliver Pursche, an independent market strategist. "0.6%, compared to July and June, that's not a great number."
Economic activity could slow further, "if there's a significant flareup," said Mr. Pursche. As Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated, more fiscal stimulus may be necessary "so the consumer, which has been a surprisingly strong part of economy over the summer, can continue to spend," said Mr. Pursche.
The National Association of Home Builders, or NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to a reading of 83 in September, the trade organization group said, surpassing a previous record of 78 for the highest reading in its 35-year history.
Builders have seen an unexpected surge in demand fueled by low interest rates and migration trends, the trade group said in a release.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 16, 2020 16:40 ET (20:40 GMT)Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.