Personal Income, Outlays Rise

By John S. McClenahen Maybe recent upward revisions to fourth-quarter U.S. GDP forecast are justified. Personal consumption expenditures rose 0.7% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $8.373 trillion, their best showing since July's 1.2% gain, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Dec. 1. Economists generally had expected a more modest 0.4% rise in October. Personal income in October also exceeded expectations, rising 0.6% to an annual rate of $9.758 trillion, a tenth of a percentage point higher than the anticipated 0.5% increase. "Even abstracting from hurricane impacts, [yesterday's] consumer spending and income report was a solid one, confirming that there is little standing in the way of a rate hike from Fed on Dec. 14," said Sheryl King, a senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. "Going forward, we remain concerned that low savings, high debt and elevated energy prices will take a toll on consumer spending."

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