money.gifWorld stock markets rallied Thursday after better than expected U.S. retail sales figures for February generated hopes that consumer spending in the world’s largest economy may be stabilizing despite big rises in unemployment.

The Commerce Department report showed retail sales in the U.S. edged down only 0.1 percent last month _ less severe than the 0.5 percent drop expected _ and that January’s rise was even bigger than previously estimated at a three-year high of 1.8 .

“February’s retail effort suggests that consumers have returned to the shopping malls after the catastrophic holiday season,” said David Buik, a senior strategist at BGC Partners. (Read full AP report in Forbes)


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