february

After Holiday Buying Binge Comes a Spending Diet

The holiday season was a heck of a party for retailers, but consumers are now nursing a shopping hangover that will keep them out of the nation's stores in January and February. "Now that those credit card bills are hitting mailboxes, shoppers will cut back in a very significant way," said Britt Beemer of America's Research Group.

February's Sales Put Carmakers in the Fast Lane

It was a good month for auto sales despite inclement weather across much of the country and surging oil prices. Cars sold near an annual pace of 13 million vehicles. That would make February the best on record since the "cash for clunkers" rebate program in 2009.

Ford's Sales Climb 14% on Explorers, Fuel-Efficient Models

Ford reported Tuesday that its sales in February rose 14% compared to a year ago, in part due to strong sales of the revamped Ford Explorer sports-utility vehicle, the Fusion midsized sedan and the Ford Escape compact SUV. Total sales for the month hit 156,626.

GM's February Gain Outpaced Forecasts

Consumers snapped up new GM models despite the steadily rising price of gas. GM said Tuesday that it sold 207,028 vehicles during the month, exceeding analyst expectations. The increase was driven largely by a 70% jump in retail, or individual consumer, sales.

February Auto Sales Likely Kept Zipping Along

Major automakers are set to release February sales figures on Tuesday, and analysts expect the reports will show sales improved 20% compared to a year ago as consumers continued to warm to the slowly improving economy -- so far, despite surging oil prices.

Consumer Sentiment Index Jumps to Three-Year High

The markets may have had a rough weak as U.S. GDP growth was revised down and Middle East unrest caused oil prices to rise, but the consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level since January 2008. Sentiment has risen for about six months -- an encouraging sign -- but oil prices could sour the mood.