The Economy: The Consumer Hangs In

A better-than-expected rise in January retail sales helps ease recessionary fears somewhat. Business inventories correct an overshoot

A Feb. 13 report showing a slightly better-than-expected bounce in retail sales in January dealt a blow to the more pessimistic market outlooks for the U.S. consumer sector. But downward revisions to previous months lowered the trajectory of sales growth, and prompted modest downward revisions in Action Economics' fourth- and first-quarter gross domestic product estimates.

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