Key Points: Retail sales rose 17.7% in May from the previous month, well above the 8% forecast.Total sales and sales excluding autos set records.Stocks jumped on the news.VIDEO1:1901:19Retail sales surge 17.7% for May in the biggest monthly jump everSquawk Box
The 17.7% headline gain including food sales easily topped the record 6.7% from October 2001 — a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and beat the 8% estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
Retail sales alone powered 16.8% higher from a month earlier, more than double the estimate of 8% from Dow Jones and reversing a 16.4% plunge from the previous month. Clothing and accessories stores reported the biggest percentage gain at 188% while sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments and book stores rose 88.2%.
The government numbers, released an hour before the start of stock trading, added to an upbeat mood on Wall Street, with Dow rising more than 900 points in the premarket. By late morning, stocks were up more than 500 points.
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After being almost completely shuttered during the lockdown, food services and drinking places saw a 29.1% rebound in May. Some states began allowing outdoor dining during the month after the establishments were limited to curbside pickup and delivery.