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Markets continue to bounce, US retail sales jump 18 in May

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Stock markets in the US, UK and Europe jumped yesterday and this morning on several pieces of news. First up, retail sales in the US mounted a comeback in May, jumping by 17.7 in their biggest monthly increase ever. The figure was more than double the 8 increase that was forecasted, although total sales are still off 6.1 versus May last year. Category wise, clothing and accessories stores reported a 188 jump versus March, while sporting goods, hobby and book stores posted an 88.2 gain. Food and drink establishments enjoyed a 29.1 bounce back after states began to allow outside dining rather than just pickup and delivery. In addition to the retail sales figures, there were reports on Tuesday that the Trump administration is working on a trillion dollar infrastructure spending package as part of the broader response to helping the economy through the current pandemic. One counterpoint to investor optimism on Tuesday was testimony to the Senate Banking Committee from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who noted signs of economic stabilisation, but warned that a full recovery is unlikely until the disease is contained. He added that the unemployment rate is still exceptionally high, and that millions are employed by state and local governments that are facing financial difficulties.