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US retail sales see surprise fall

Press TV [1]
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sales at US retailers fell in March after two months of rises, indicating that rising unemployment has reduced consumer spending.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that total retail sales dropped 1.1 percent in March, after rising by 1 percent in January and 0.3 percent in February.

aThe unexpected fall in March was due to declining purchases for items such as motor vehicles and electronic goods.

US stocks opened lower after the report with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 47.63 points, or 0.59 percent, to 8,010.18.



The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 3.77 points, or 0.44 percent, to 854.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 5.17 points, or 0.31 percent, to 1,648.14.

Two months of rise in retail sales had raised optimism that the world’s largest economy was slowly recovering from the financial crisis. However, analysts believe the economic downturn is far from hitting the bottom considering the rising number of jobless claims.

Sales of electronic goods saw the sharpest drop, falling 5.9 percent while vehicles and auto parts sales dropped 2.3 percent.

Full story here. [1]