Retail Sales In February Improve Despite Economic Headwinds

Retail SalesRetail sales for the month of February increased 1.1 percent, the largest gain in five months, showing that Americans are still spending at the cash register despite paying 2 percent more in 2013 due to the payroll tax increase and facing higher gasoline prices at the pump.

Excluding gas purchases, retail sales rose 0.6 percent.

In most regions across the U.S., gas prices increased about 30 cents from January to February, and the national average is currently around $3.70 per gallon.

Auto sales rose 1.1 percent in February after a .4 percent increase in January.

Excluding auto sales, retail sales increased 1.0 percent which is also the largest gain in five months.

Economists were expecting retail sales for the month of February in the range of 0.6- 0.7 percent.

Stock futures have rebounded following the release of the February retail sales data.

Futures were negative earlier on Wednesday following an Italian debt auction that saw weaker than expected interest.

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