The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.S. retail sales rose in June, the fourth straight increase, Commerce Dept. says


U.S. retail sales up in June, in repeat jump

U.S. retail sales increased at a solid pace last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, rising 0.4 percent, the fourth straight increase.

Sales at online retailers, grocery stores, home and garden stores, and at restaurants and bars all rose at a healthy pace.

June’s figures underscore the importance of consumer spending to the U.S. economy. Business investment has weakened, factory output has faltered, and slower global growth is weighing on exports. But measures of consumer confidence remain historically high, and June’s figures suggest that consumer spending, which drives two-thirds of the economy, remains strong.

A category that is mostly made up of online retail sales jumped 1.7 percent for the second month in a row, pushing the annual gain to 13.4 percent. Spending at restaurants and bars increased 0.9 percent, and spending at grocery stores rose 0.5 percent.

— Associated Press


Largarde resigns from IMF after bank offer

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde submitted her resignation from the global crisis lender on Tuesday, citing more clarity about her nomination this month to lead the European Central Bank.

Lagarde said in a statement that her resignation was effective Sept. 12, firing the starting gun for the IMF’s search for her successor.

“With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB President and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund,” Lagarde said in a statement.

IMF succession is expected to be a major topic of discussion among G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Chantilly, France, amid concerns that slowing global growth and trade conflicts will pressure vulnerable economies.

— Bloomberg News


Industrial production unchanged in June

U.S. industrial production was flat in June, as a slump in utilities was offset by gains in output by factories and mining.

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that manufacturing production increased 0.4 percent last month, aided by a nearly 3 percent surge at auto plants. Still, factory output has been weak over the past 12 months, posting a modest gain of 0.4 percent. The manufacturing sector has faced challenges because of President Trump’s tariffs against China and that country’s retaliatory taxes.

Production at the nation’s utilities fell 3.6 percent, as a milder-than-usual June led to less demand for air-conditioning. Production at mines, which also covers oil and gas drilling, advanced a modest 0.2 percent.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

An India-based company that sells numerous drugs in the United States, including ibuprofen, was caught attempting to dispose of quality-control records, calling into question the safety of its medicines. U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors said they found what appeared to be records awaiting shredding at Strides Pharma Science Ltd.'s manufacturing facility in Puducherry, the agency said in a warning letter to chief executive Arun Kumar made public Tuesday. Discarded records were also found in a 55-gallon drum in the company's scrap yard, the letter said.

Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter Tuesday, despite remaining under heavy restrictions by regulators for an assortment of scandals in recent years. The San Francisco-based bank reported second-quarter earnings of $6.21 billion, a 19 percent increase over the $5.19 billion for the same period last year. Wells Fargo & Co. reported earnings of $1.30 per share, compared with 98 cents per share in the same period last year. Analysts urveyed by FactSet expected earnings per share of $1.17 for the second quarter.

JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday that its second-quarter profits grew by 16 percent from a year ago, helped by lower taxes and the ability to charge businesses and consumers more to borrow money. The nation's largest bank by assets said Tuesday that it earned $9.65 billion, or $2.82 per share, up from a profit of $8.32 billion, or $2.29 per share, a year earlier. The results beat the forecasts of analysts, who were looking for JPMorgan to earn $2.50 a share, according to FactSet.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases housing starts for June.

2 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases Beige Book.

Earnings: Bank of America, Netflix.