Weaker economic data last week calls into question the sustainability of the recovery.

The stronger than expected economic data for August released in the first week of September was offset with weaker than expected data last week. The most disappointing number was retail sales. It was reported as having only increased by 0.6%. We had expected a stronger number based on the strong auto sales data released for the month. The Commerce Department estimated auto sales as having increased by 0.2%, while the reports from the auto companies reflected a 4.5% increase for the month. Housing starts also declined after four strong monthly gains. The housing sector has been leading the rebound in economic activity.