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Retail sales bounced back in October from September's decline -- the first in 8 months.

The Census Bureau reports sales were up a seasonally adjusted $444.5 billion or 0.3% from the

previous month, and were 4.1% above October the same period a year ago.

Contributing to the advance were sales at Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores (+1.2), food services and drinking places (+0.9%) and health and personal care stores (+0.7%). Auto sales rose 0.5% after falling 1.1% in September.

Keeping a lid on the increase were sales at electronics and appliance stores (-1.6%) and gas stations (-1.5%).

Sterne Agee Chief Economist Lindsey Piegza notes that while the weakness in October was dominated by a few categories, there was insufficient demand elsewhere to compensate. "Consumers continue to spend," she noted, "but at a modest level with no sign of further momentum in sight."

The complete retail sales report for October is available on the Commerce Department website.

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