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Retail sales numbers for February ahead

6:18 AM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Economists are forecasting a slight gain in retail sales before the Commerce Department releases its report this morning.

According to a survey by FactSet, retail sales rose 0.2 percent in February from January. That would be only slightly better than January's 0.1 percent increase.

The numbers are expected to show Americans spent cautiously last month at retail businesses, balancing a surge in hiring against higher taxes and gas prices.

The retail sales report is the government's first look at consumer spending, which drives about 70 percent of economic activity.

Also on today's economic calendar, the Commerce Department releases business inventories for January and the Treasury releases the federal budget for February.







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