The economic reports on Monday were mostly positive.
In Japan, Bloomberg reports that retail sales rose in February.
Japan’s retail sales gained at the fastest pace in more than a decade in February, signaling that a drop in the unemployment rate is feeding through to higher household spending.
Sales rose 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the Trade Ministry said today in Tokyo, the biggest monthly jump since 1997. The median estimate of 12 economists surveyed was for a 1.6 percent climb...
From a month earlier, retail sales unexpectedly climbed 0.9 percent, the second consecutive gain. None of the eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted an increase, and their median estimate was for a 1.2 percent drop.
In the euro area, confidence was up in March.
European confidence in the economic outlook improved to the highest in almost two years in March, beating economists’ forecasts and signaling the recovery is gathering strength as a weaker euro helps exporters.
An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 16 nations using the euro rose to 97.7 from 95.9 in February, the European Commission in Brussels said today. That was the highest since May 2008 and topped the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey.
In the US, consumer spending continued to rise in February.
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in February for a fifth consecutive month, a rebound that will require gains in employment to be sustained.
The 0.3 percent increase in purchases matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 0.4 percent advance in January, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes were unchanged, falling short of expectations as winter storms hurt hiring and hours worked.