Retail sales surged in February

The U.S. stock market climbed again today after the U.S. Commerce Department reported that retail sales climbed the fastest in five months in February, as rising gasoline prices were not enough to choke off U.S. consumers’ demand for cars, clothing and other goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 100 points this morning to climb back above the 13,000 mark.

The Commerce Department said sales rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent to $407.8 billion in February, with January’s retail sales revised higher to show a 0.6 percent advance instead of the 0.4 percent initially reported. December sales also were upwardly revised to show a 0.3 percent gain instead of a previously reported flat performance.
The data came in stronger than economists had anticipated. In the wake of the data, Goldman Sachs lifted its estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) to 2 percent from 1.8 percent, and other economists also lifted their estimates.

The largest gainers in the BizTimes Stock Index were Joy Global Inc. (up $1.98 to $80.71) and Rockwell Automation Inc. (up $1.23 to $83.70).

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