Investing.com - Retail sales in the U.S. rose for the first time in three months in February, easing concerns over the strength of the economic recovery, official data showed on Thursday.
In a report, the U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% last month, beating expectations for a 0.2% increase. Retail sales for January were revised down to a 0.6% decline from a previously reported fall of 0.4%.
Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy.
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in February, compared to forecasts for a 0.2% increase. Core sales in January were revised down to a fall of 0.3% from a previously reported flat reading.
Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the government''s gross domestic product report. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.
Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar held on to losses against the euro, with EUR/USD rising 0.27% to trade at 1.3941.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 0.15%, S&P 500 futures indicated a rise of 0.2%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures signaled an increase of 0.3%.