March retail sales rose more-than-expected, the first gain in three months, indicating that consumer demand regained its strength in support of tax cuts and profits in 2017. Retail sales rose by 0.6% in March from 0.1% in the previous month, compared to expectations of 0.4%. Sales of the main retail group rose by 0.4%, which is used to calculate domestic output excluding food services, car dealerships, building materials stores and fueling stations .
Eight out of 13 retail sales rose, and retail sales of health and personal care products rose 1.4%, the most in two years. Car sales rose 2%, the highest since September, and building materials were down 0.6%. Investors’ optimism has been boosted by strong hiring activity, rising wages and low taxes, and cash from the 2017 earnings, which boosted sales growth in the previous month.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s move against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.36% to 89.47 at 4:09 pm Mecca time.