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October retail sales provide another sign that the U.S. recovery is gaining traction.
Retail spending rose a stronger-than-expected half-percent last month, with sales gains across the board. Meanwhile, wholesale inflation dropped in October thanks to lower energy prices.
Earnings season continues with results out of Wal-Mart. Quarterly sales at key U.S. operations rose for the first time in more than two years. The world’s largest retailer has been reluctant to pass on higher costs to its budget-conscious consumers. That, however, resulted in lower-than-expected profits.
Home Depot is the other big retailer releasing results. The No. 1 home improvement retailer raised its fiscal-year outlook for the third time in six months, as operational changes yield results. Sales and earnings for the quarter topped forecasts.
Bottom line: U.S. retail sales rose in October as wholesale prices dropped. Wal-Mart’s revenue grew, but its profits disappointed. And Home Depot beat forecasts and lifted guidance.