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Consumer Spending Down, But Not Out

Andrew Wolf, retail and consumer sector analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that consumer spending is far from dead.

The Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales fell 0.2% in April. It was the largest decline in retail sales since last September. Excluding autos, retail sales were flat.

“(April’s sales were) probably an outlier,” Wolf said. “It was a noisy past two months. If you recall, March came in well above expectations. April was worse. Easter played a role. Weather played a role. I stick to my underlying thesis that there’s a slowdown in consumer (spending), but it’s too soon to call the consumer toast.”

He said the core inflation number was good, but higher food and energy prices mean a further slowdown in consumer spending.

The Labor Department said wholesale prices rose 0.7% in April, down from a 1% increase in March. Gasoline prices jumped 8.2%, following increases of 8.7% and 5.3% in the previous two months.

Outside food and energy, prices were unchanged last month, the second straight month the core inflation index was flat.