Business Report: Retail sales rise

Retail sales rose only slightly last month, possibly due to tax season for reasons you may not expect. Plus AT&T’s merger with Time Warner gets the green light overseas.
The Commerce Department said retail sales ticked up one tenth of a percent in February after rising six tenths of a percent in January. The figures suggest consumers are being cautious despite rising optimism about the economy. Some economists believe spending was likely held back by delays in tax refund payments after a new law required tougher scrutiny of some credits claimed by lower-income taxpayers. But returns have started to arrive, which could trigger a rebound in retail spending.

In other business news, the European Union has given its approval to AT&T’s proposed $85 Billion purchase of Time Warner, noting that while AT&T is active in Global Telecommunications and Digital Entertainment, it only provides telecom services to business customers in Europe, raising no competition concerns in Europe. The deal still needs approval from us regulators as it would bind the second largest us wireless carrier with a media conglomerate that owns CNN, HBO, the Harry Potter franchise and pro basketball.