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U.S. consumer spending for retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.6% in January after declining 0.3% in December. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Consumer spending is being supported by a strengthening labor market, which is starting to lift wages. (Reuters)

U.S. import prices fell 1.1% in January for a seventh straight month as the cost of petroleum products continued to decline and a strong dollar undercut prices, pointing to weak inflation in the near term.
Import prices have decreased in 17 of the last 19 months. (Reuters)

The Index of Consumer sentiment hit 90.7 down from January's final reading of 92.  The survey measures consumers' attitudes toward current economic conditions and future expectations. Both edged downward for the month. (University of Michigan)

Hormel Foods reported quarterly profits of $235.1 million. The results topped Wall Street expectations. The maker of Spam and Dinty Moore stew had sales of $2.29 billion in the period. Hormel shares have more than doubled since the beginning of the year and the stock has nearly tripled in the last 12 months. (AP)

Oil is up 55 cents at $30.00 a barrel.

Gold is down $25 at $1214 a Troy ounce.
 

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