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US Retail Sales Rise Slightly

U.S. retail sales rose modestly in August.

Friday's report from the Commerce Department says prices paid by consumers grew just two-tenths of one percent in August, which is less than many economists had predicted.

Investors watch consumer spending closely because consumer demand drives most U.S. economic activity.

Another government report said prices paid to producers of goods rose three-tenths of one percent, and showed no gain outside the volatile areas of food and energy.

This Producer Price Index may be evidence that future inflation will remain tame.

These reports are part of the data that top officials of the Federal Reserve will review next Tuesday and Wednesday as they consider possible changes in their efforts to stimulate the economy.

Fed efforts to keep interest rates low are intended to boost economic growth after the worst recession in decades, which began five years ago with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a major financial firm.

A Gallup poll shows consumer confidence has improved since the worst of the crisis, but many Americans remain worried about losing their jobs.

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