The outlook for the U.S. economy appeared dimmer Monday after a report that Americans spent less at retail businesses for a third straight month in June.
The report led some economists to downgrade their estimates for economic growth in the April-June quarter. Many now think the economy grew even less than in the first quarter of the year, when it expanded at a sluggish 1.9 percent annual rate.
Spending in June fell in nearly every major category _ from autos, furniture and appliances to building, garden supplies and department stores. Overall, retail sales slid 0.5 percent from May to June, the Commerce Department said.
Retail sales hadn’t fallen for three straight months since the fall of 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.
Stocks fell after the report was released. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 74 points in early trading. Broader indexes also declined. Later in the morning, stocks regained some of their losses.
“However hard you look, there’s just no good news in this report at all,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.