By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start, pointing to sustained strength in the economy that could pave the way for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year. The economic outlook was also bolstered by other data on Thursday that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropping to near a 44-1/2-year low last week. The Fed offered a rosy assessment of the economy in its latest policy statement on Wednesday, describing activity as "rising at a solid rate." The U.S. central bank raised borrowing costs for a third time this year and forecast three rate increases for 2018. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month, with households buying a range of goods even as they cut back on purchases of motor vehicles. Data for October was revised to show sales gaining 0.5 percent instead of the previously reported 0.2 percent increase. Retail sales accelerated 5.8 percent on an annual basis. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing only 0.3 percent in November. The dollar <.DXY> rose against a basket of currencies after the release of the data, while prices for U.S. Treasuries fell. U.S. stocks were trading higher. Last month, sales at gardening and building material stores jumped 1.2 percent after slipping 0.1 percent in October. That helped to offset a 0.2 percent drop in receipts at auto dealerships. Retail sales were also lifted by a 2.8 percent gain in sales at service stations, which reflected higher gasoline prices. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales jumped 0.8 percent last month after climbing 0.4 percent in October. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. STRONG CONSUMER SPENDING Last month's increase in core retail sales suggested a strong pace of consumer spending in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, is being supported by steady wage gains as the labor market tightens. In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 225,000 for the week ended Dec. 9. That was the lowest reading since mid-October when claims dropped to 223,000, a level not seen since March 1973. Last week marked the 145th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. Fed Chair Janet Yellen told reporters on Wednesday that the central bank expected the "labor market to remain strong, with sustained job creation, ample opportunities for workers, and rising wages." The economy added 228,000 jobs in November. Consumer spending increased at a 2.3 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, contributing to the economy's 3.3 percent growth pace during that period. Spending could get a lift from the Trump administration's plan to lower income taxes. But with the bulk of the tax relief expected to go to high-income households, economists caution that the boost might be limited. Last month, sales at electronics and appliance stores increased 2.1 percent. Receipts at clothing stores rose 0.7 percent in November. Retailers, including Macy's Inc, reported strong sales for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday retail season. Sales at online retailers soared 2.5 percent last month. Receipts at restaurants and bars gained 0.7 percent and sales at sporting goods and hobby stores shot up 0.9 percent. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)
- The Daily Beast
Sergei Karpukhin/ReutersHot on the heels of embarrassing reports of Russian recruits fighting each other and Moscow loyalists calling for Kremlin ministers to kill themselves, it seems the rage against Vladimir Putin’s handling of his invasion of Ukraine is now openly being conveyed to the man himself by members of his own inner circle.A report Friday—which is Putin’s 70th birthday—said that one of the despot’s closest allies had openly challenged the disastrous way the war was being conducted.
Trump resented having to sign letters for US troops killed in Afghanistan during his presidency because he didn't want to 'attach his name to a war he disliked,' a book says
"Aides were struck that he seemed rattled by the number of deaths involved," Maggie Haberman writes in her new book of Trump's view of Afghanistan.
Tom’s Teammate Announced He’s Retiring to Be a ‘Full-Time Dad & Husband’—Can Someone Check on Gisele?
Gisele Bündchen has entered the chat.
Lee is survived by her husband, former WWE wrestler Cory Weston, and their three young children.
"Gentrification Is Real": This Woman Says Neighbors Offered Her $800K For Her Grandfather's Multi-Million-Dollar Home
Keisha Credit inherited her grandfather's home in a multi-million-dollar neighborhood. However, shortly after his passing, she started receiving offers as low as $800,000. "That’s good money, but absolutely not. It's disrespectful and assumes I don’t know the value of my home," she said.View Entire Post ›
- The Daily Beast
GettyJust over two weeks since Vladimir Putin’s latest hail mary in his war against Ukraine, things are going so well for the Russian leader that draftees are rioting, his top allies are at each other’s throats over a series of losses, and his defense minister has now been urged by his own team to blow his brains out.“Yes, really, many are saying that… a defense minister who allowed such circumstances to arise could, as an officer, just shoot himself. But, you know, for many the word ‘officer’ i
- Yahoo Sports
Richard Sherman blows a gasket after watching Russell Wilson lose on a pass at the goal line (again)
Richard Sherman had thoughts after watching Russell Wilson repeat history.
- Yahoo Sports
The Broncos had an open receiver on their final play of overtime.
- The New York Times
STAVKY, Ukraine — Racing down a road with his men in pursuit of retreating Russian soldiers, a battalion commander came across an abandoned Russian armored vehicle, its engine still running. Inside there was a sniper rifle, rocket propelled grenades, helmets and belongings. The men were gone. “They dropped everything: personal care, helmets,” said the commander, who uses the code name Swat. “I think it was a special unit, but they were panicking. It was raining very hard, the road was bad and th
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers were told by a federal judge to “stop wasting time” after they tried halting the deposition of former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham in a defamation lawsuit minutes after it began, citing her painkiller medication. Most Read from BloombergBiden Says Putin Threats Real, Could Spark Nuclear ‘Armageddon’Kremlin Lets State Media Tell Some Truths About Putin’s Stalling WarMusk's Twitter Takeover Hits Snag Over Debt-Financing IssueN
The woman appeared to tell the Princess of Wales, "Ireland belongs to the Irish"
- The Hill
Tropical Storm Julia is expected to form Friday and will likely become a hurricane over the southern Caribbean this weekend, the National Hurricane Center said.
A rift has opened in Trump's legal team, with a lawyer frozen out for wanting to cooperate with the DOJ: NYT
The lawyer, Chris Kise, was said by The New York Times to have recommended a gentler approach than Trump ultimately favored in the Mar-a-Lago case.
- USA TODAY
The suspect in the kidnapping and killing of a central California family was a former employee of the family who had a longstanding dispute with them.
Chris Geldart, a DC Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice has been charged with assault and battery after a parking lot altercation at a Gold's Gym in Arlington.Dustin Woodward, a trainer at Gold's Gym in says DC's Deputy Mayor Chris Geldart grabbed him by the neck in the gym's parking lot.
The ineptitude of Trump’s legal team reportedly forced GOP senators to take matters into their own hands by choreographing his Ukraine trial defense.
- USA TODAY Opinion
GOP leaders will rally around the professed anti-abortion candidate because they want power. They wouldn't care if he blew up the planet Alderaan.
- Kansas City Star
The Olathe Northwest High School teacher and coach is accused of having sexual intercourse with a student several times, both at his home and at the school, according to police.
A lot of thought went into this yellow dress (which yep, you can shop RN).
- The Daily Beast
AFP via GettyWhile Ukraine’s military has been successfully chasing Russian troops out of one territory after another, Vladimir Putin’s foot soldiers have apparently been turning their weapons on each other as the Russian leader’s “special military operation” continues to come apart at the seams in spectacular fashion.The Kremlin’s flailing bid to get an edge on the battlefield by deploying mercenaries from the Wagner Group—which now includes hundreds of prison inmates—has reportedly backfired a