NEW YORK (AP) - Strong February retail sales are driving stocks higher. The Nasdaq is pushing above 3,000 for the first time in two weeks.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that U.S. retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month, the biggest gain since September. Some of the gain reflected higher gas prices, but consumers also bought more cars, clothes and appliances.
The government also reports today that number of U.S. jobs openings fell in January from a three and a half year high. The modest decline suggests hiring could continue at its healthy pace but may not accelerate.
And U.S. companies restocked at a faster pace in January, a sign that businesses expect stronger job growth to fuel more sales. The Commerce Department says business stockpiles rose 0.7 percent in January after a 0.6 percent gain in December