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According to the Commerce Department Retail Sales fell much more than expected in December as surging prices took a big bite out of spending.  Excluding autos, retail sales fell 2.3%.  Considering that the sales numbers are not adjusted for inflation, the data point to a slow ending to what had otherwise been a strong 2021 in which sales rose 16.9%.

Earlier in the week we got the inflation data at the consumer level showing inflation increasing by 7% year over year.  Yesterday we got the inflation rate at the wholesale, or producer level.  The producer price index, which measures prices received by producers of goods, services and construction, was up 0.2% for the month of December.  However, on a 12-month basis, the index was up 9.7% to end 2021, the highest calendar-year increase ever in data going back to 2010.

Shares of Ford jumped higher as the automaker’s market cap topped $100 billion for the first time ever. The rally comes as the company plans to increase electric vehicle production, including the Mustang Mach-E crossover and an upcoming electric version of their best-selling F-150 pickup. Deutsche Bank also named Ford one of their top 2022 stock pick.

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