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Stocks declined yesterday, but were higher in the month of February, amid stronger-than-expected economic data and after talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fell through.
 
The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter 2018. Economists had expected the economy to grow at a pace of 2 percent.  A slumping housing market and bigger trade deficit softened up the economy in the final three months of 2018 after a torrid spell of growth in the middle of last year, but consumers and businesses still showed plenty of resilience despite stiffer headwinds.
 
The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in late February rose modestly but remained near the lowest level in decades, suggesting the labor market is still rock solid.  Jobless claims, a rough measure of layoffs, rose by 8,000 to 225,000.


Shares of the retailer Gap skyrocketed more than 20% after the retailer said it would split itself into two companies, one consisting of its Old Navy brand and a yet-to-be-named company with its Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, and Hill City brands, as sales at Gap brand fell 5% globally in 2018. Gap also plans to close about 230 specialty Gap stores over the next two years as part of an effort to "revitalize" its Gap brand.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones

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