Wall Street was treated to a veritable tsunami of economic reports today, and retail sales in particular were being closely watched as economic indicators have warned of a potential slowdown in consumer spending.

In fact, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales edged 0.3% higher in August, but actually declined by 0.4% excluding auto sales. The drop was the largest since last September, and fell short of analysts' expectations, which called for a gain of 0.6% in total sales and 0.2% in ex-auto sales. However, July's data was upwardly revised to a gain of 0.5%. Auto sales were up 2.8% for the month of August. For the year, retail sales are up 3.7%, or 3.9% excluding autos.

Meanwhile, here's a quick & dirty review of the other economic reports that investors are currently trying to digest:

  • Consumer confidence remained unchanged in September, according to the University of Michigan's report.
  • Per the Fed, manufacturing output declined for the first time in 6 months during August.
  • Business inventories fell in July, as sales rose 1.1% compared to a 0.5% gain in inventories, according to the Commerce Department.
  • In other Commerce Department news, the current account deficit fell to 5.5% of gross domestic product, the lowest such reading in almost 2 years.
  • Finally, the Labor Department noted that import prices lost 0.3% in August, with a 1.3% decrease in petroleum prices leading the losses.