US stocks mixed as US retail sales beat expectations

<p>The US’s stocks are mixed today after the Commerce Department revealed December sales beat expectations.</p>

The main US stock indices were mixed today (January 16th) after official figures showed the nation's retail sales exceeded expectations over the Christmas period.

According to the Commerce Department, demand in December rose by 0.5 per cent to $415.7 billion (£259 billion) compared to the previous month, while year-on-year this figure rose by 4.7 per cent.

US consumer spending accounts for around 70 per cent of the country's economic activity and therefore a prosperous festive period is good news for the world's largest economy.

Demand for cars and car parts rose by 1.6 per cent compared to November, while furniture sales and personal care item purchases increased by 1.4 per cent.

Analysts had originally anticipated last month's sales to inch up by just 0.2 per cent.

At 16:40 GMT, the Dow Jones slipped by 0.1 per cent to an index value of 13516.2 points, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq rose by 0.2 per cent to 3119 points.

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