Positive retail numbers send markets climbing
Despite snowstorms and weak demand for autos, U.S. retail sales increased by 0.3 percent in February to $355.5 billion, the Commerce Department said this morning. Analysts had expected a decline of 0.2 percent, by comparison, according to a survey by Bloomberg.
Excluding autos, the figures were slightly better, with sales rising 0.8 percent. Auto sales, likely hurt by Toyota’s recent troubles, dropped 2 percent, though gasoline station sales were up 24 percent as some Americans evidently braved the snow and headed to the local mall.
In estimates that were adjusted for “seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day differences” sales at electronics and appliance stores were up 3.7 percent over the previous month. Department stores reported a 1.1 percent increase, while food services and drinking places were up 0.9 percent.
That sort of news is expected to give the markets some optimism today. After closing at 1,150.24, the S&P opened at 1,151.71 and appears to be climbing. Same for Nasdaq, which closed at 2,368.46 yesterday and opened at 2,376.07 this morning.
-- Mike Musgrove
March 12, 2010; 9:50 AM ET
Categories: Autos , The Ticker
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