February 14, 2019 / 3:53 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Barclays, J.P. Morgan cut U.S. Q4 2018 GDP view after retail sales plunge

(Adds Barclays GDP downgrade)

NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Barclays and J.P. Morgan on Thursday reduced their estimates on U.S. economic growth in the final quarter of 2018 following data that showed domestic retail sales took a 1.2 percent spill in December, which was its steepest monthly drop in nine years.

U.S. gross domestic product likely grew at a 2.0 percent annualized pace in the final three months of last year based on the latest retail sales figures, slower than an earlier calculated rate of 2.6 percent, J.P. Morgan economist Michael Feroli wrote in a research note.

The weaker outlook reflected a likely deceleration in consumer spending growth in the final three months of last year to 2.8 percent from an earlier view of 3.8 percent, he said.

The latest retail sales report “was uniformly and, in some cases, shockingly weak,” Feroli wrote. “The most plausible economic explanation is that long-dormant wealth effects came back with a vengeance, and consumers slashed their holiday purchases when they saw their 401(k)’s going down the drain.”

Meanwhile, Barclays economists scaled back their view on fourth-quarter GDP to 2.1 percent from 2.8 percent. (Reporting by Richard Leong Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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