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Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Wall Street shrugged in response to below-forecast consumer spending.

What's happening: Rather than interpret the data as a sign that the all-important consumer is losing steam, some are blaming November's figures on a calendar quirk — and keeping faith shoppers will continue to open up their wallets.

  • Cyber Monday, during which Americans spent a record $7.4 billion in online sales, wasn't included in Friday’s report since it took place on Dec. 2, as Axios' Orion Rummler reports.
  • "The late Thanksgiving could also have thrown off the model that the government uses to strip seasonal fluctuations from the data, holding back sales," Reuters notes.

What they're saying: "Don't count the consumer out of the fourth-quarter GDP story yet," economists at RDQ Economics, a New York-based consulting firm, wrote in a note to clients on Friday. RDQ estimates November's data will be revised higher and December's figures will show a "solid gain" in spending.

  • "We expect a modest rebound to spending in December," Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM U.S., wrote in a research note.
  • "For this reason, we will wait until we get that data to come to any conclusions about the condition of the consumer heading into 2020."

Yes, but: Retail sales — which came in at 0.2% in November, following October's upwardly revised 0.4% — have cooled considerably after rising by an average of 0.7% per month in the first eight months of this year, per Reuters.

  • Why it matters: The soft data comes at a time when consumer spending largely has largely acted as the U.S. economy's backbone as businesses delay investments.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for private companies during a Monday interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Why it matters: De Blasio said it was a "first-in-the-nation measure," and will go into effect starting Dec. 27.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent. 

3 hours ago - Health
Axios Investigates

Documents reveal the secrecy of America's drug pricing matrix

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American businesses spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and the bills keep getting bigger. But some of the companies promising to help rein in those costs prevent employers from looking under the hood.

Why it matters: Documents provided to Axios reveal a new layer of secrecy within the maze of American drug pricing — one in which firms that manage drug coverage for hundreds of employers, representing millions of workers, obscure the details of their work and make it difficult to figure out whether they're actually providing a good deal.