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Consumers could be drinking, eating away election anxiety

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Consumers spent a lot more at restaurants and bars in August, while cutting back on big ticket items like cars and furniture — and even online shopping.

Spending at food services and other eating places jumped 0.9 percent last month, while food and beverage stores saw a pickup of 0.3 percent. That compares with a drop of 0.9 percent at auto and parts dealers, and a 0.7 percent dip in spending on furniture.

"If there is an election uncertainty effect, it would not be surprising if restaurants were spared the pain: in principle uncertainty should restrain spending on durable goods more than spending on services," wrote JPMorgan chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli.