U.S. Retail Sales Surprise in October

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose in October as an increase in purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods offset a decline in demand for building materials, suggesting consumer spending remained fairly strong early in the fourth quarter.

Figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday revealed retail sales increased 0.2% last month. Data for September was revised to show sales jumping 1.9% rather than the previously reported 1.6% advance.

The annualized figure for retail sales indicated an increase of 4.6%

Economists had forecast that retail sales would be unchanged in October. The slowdown from September's robust pace largely reflected an unwinding of the boost to building materials and gasoline prices after recent hurricanes.

Receipts at auto dealerships increased 0.7% after soaring 4.6% in September. Sales at gardening and building material stores fell 1.2% last month after improving 3% in September.