Giddy Consumer, Where Art Thou?

It is less of a surprise that consumer spending is strengthening than that it isn’t even stronger.

Overall retail sales rose 0.3% in April from a month earlier, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday, continuing to pick up after a sluggish start to the year. Sales excluding autos, gasoline, building materials and food services—which economists watch as an indicator of trends in consumer spending—was up 0.4%.

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