Retail sales surge as shoppers brush off rising inflation

Retail sales rose more-than-expected last month, buoyed by strong sales at discount department stores.

Economists had forecast a 0.2 percent rise, but that was blown out of the water, with the Office for National Statistics reporting a 1.2 percent increase in sales.

Sales growth in January was also revised upwards from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent.

5 things to start the day off right

1) The Bank of England hikes interest rates to 4.25 per cent and warns of more pain | Rate hike comes after unexpected rise in inflation

2) TikTok boss admits Chinese parent company has access to data | The recording comes as the app battles a possible ban in the United States

3) The Bank of England made a historic mistake that must not be forgotten | Andrew Bailey has repeatedly made the big decisions wrong – and we are paying the price

4) Rate hikes wipe nearly £550bn out of private pension schemes | Losses pose a risk to hundreds of thousands of people with defined benefit pensions

5) BBC said to explain increased spending on US blockbusters | Ofcom’s intervention comes as the broadcaster buys more imports from across the pond

what happened overnight

Asian equities came under pressure after continued worries about bank stability swept Wall Street.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan slipped 0.2 percent, although it was heading for a still-solid 2 percent weekly gain.

Both China’s blue-chip index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.3 percent, with sentiment weighed on by ongoing geopolitical tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

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Japan’s stocks ended lower on Friday as global investors weighed fresh rate hikes by central banks and signs of a possible pause in US monetary tightening.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.1 percent to 27,385.25, while the broader Topix index fell 0.1 percent to 1,955.32.

Wall Street’s main indices closed in the green after choppy trading Thursday as investors rushed into megacap tech stocks amid falling Treasury yields and signs the Federal Reserve may soon be ending its cycle of rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Jones closed 0.2 percent higher at 32,105.25, while the broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent to close at 3,948.72. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 1 percent to 11,787.40.

Shares in regional lenders fell despite assurances from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the US government is prepared to “take additional action, if warranted” to protect depositors and stabilize the banking system.

The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF fell 2.8 percent.


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