U.S. retail falls in December

NEW YORK — Retail sales in the U.S. declined by 0.9% in December, following a 0.4% rise in November and dampening investor optimism. Economists expected receipts to slip by just 0.1% but the drop was the largest in 11 months, affecting nine out of 13 major retail categories. Consumer spending had appeared to be accelerating before December, and analysts warned against reading the results as more than an anomaly.