Consumer Cos Up After Strong Holiday Sales Reports -- Consumer Roundup

Features Dow Jones Newswires

Macy's said same-store sales rose 1% in November and December from a year ago, while J.C. Penney reported its increased 3.4%. The holiday sales results were an improvement from a year ago when both retail chains reported declines. In another sign of accelerated activity in the retail industry, private employers added 250,000 workers to their ranks in December, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing and forecasting firm Moody's Analytics. The housing market enjoyed a banner 2017 but this year could be more complicated, according to one brokerage. "Single family housing starts have climbed higher over the past two months while both new and existing home sales reached cycle highs in November and homebuilder confidence reached the highest level since the late 1990s," said analysts at brokerage Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. "This is partly a function of greater activity post hurricanes. What do the cards hold for 2018? There are both short-run and long-run considerations: 1) weather conditions to start the year are less favorable relative to the prior two years, suggesting near-term weakness; 2) tax legislation creates winners and losers in the housing market; 3) the health of the economy and attitude of Millennial buyers are favorable."

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-Rob Curran, rob.curran@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 04, 2018 16:41 ET (21:41 GMT)