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Retail sales rose +0.3% in November from the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This was slightly less than expected but an improvement from the -0.3% decline in October. Year-over-year, retail sales were up +3.7%.

The overall impact of Hurricane Sandy on this report is unclear. However auto sales were particularly strong, rising +1.4% from the prior month and +5.4% year-over-year. Excluding this category, retail sales were flat in November. However, gas stations were a drag on the report, as sales plunged -4.0% from the previous month thanks to falling gas prices.

Furniture sales were very strong, rising +1.0% from October and +6.2% year-over-year. And sales of electronics jumped +2.5% from October. However, this was likely due to holiday shopping as electronic sales were down -1.0% from the same month in 2011.

This chart below from Calculated Risk Blog shows the year-over-year change in retail sales, excluding gasoline, over the last 20 years. You can see that while sales are still improving, the rate of growth has recently been decelerating:

 

Zacks Releases Their 7 Best Stocks for May, 2014

These 7 were hand-picked from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys with earnings estimate revisions that are sweeping upward. Their stock prices are expected to rise sooner than the others.

Today, this Special Report is available to new Zacks.com visitors free of charge.

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Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
DIXIE GRP IN DXYN 15.84 +7.90%
BOFI HLDG IN BOFI 85.30 +4.97%
RAMBUS INC RMBS 12.31 +4.41%
VIPSHOP HOLD VIPS 148.73 +4.35%
NETFLIX INC NFLX 345.74 +4.32%