The strongest jump in U.S. retail sales in five months eased recession fears, but unsure investors still flocked to gold and pushed the price of the precious metal to a record high.
A surprise at U.S. malls is helping to scale back fears America is on its way back into recession.
According to the Commerce Department, total retail sales jumped at their fastest pace in five months. A gain of 0.4 percent was stronger than expected and marked the second consecutive monthly gain.
Excluding automobiles - the gain was even better - coming in at 0.6 percent.
A welcomed surprise, but more important to the Federal Reserve is the jobs picture, says Standard and Poor's economist Beth Ann Bovino.