US retail sales data came in higher than forecasted as purchases increased only .2 percent after a .4 percent gain in November, according to the Commerce Department. Economists expected an increase of only .1 percent. Retail sales for all of 2013 came in at 4.2 percent, down from 5.4 percent in 2012.
Online shipping jumped almost 20 percent as consumers choose to buy holiday gifts online versus traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Non-store sales increased 1.4 percent in December, again falling from a 1.6 percent in November.
Import prices were unchanged, suggesting inflation pressures overseas. The import-price index was flat following a .9 percent drop in November, according to data from the Labor Department.
Auto sales seen strength in 2013, but data shows auto sales fell 1.8 percent after seeing a 1.9 percent gain in November. This was the biggest drop since October 2012. Auto purchases dropped to an annualized rate of 15.3 million in December from 16.3 million in November.
US equity futures climbed on the positive news, while the dollar remains modestly positive. The EURUSD remains slightly lower, while GBPUSD is up .15 percent. USDCAD is back above 1.0900 as the Canadian dollar is sold once again on positive US data.