U.S. building materials sales surge in January

WASHINGTON ― After a steep drop in December, U.S. retail sales began to rebound in January, increasing by 0.2% in a month marked by a government shutdown and a volatile stock market. The figure reported by the U.S. Commerce Department follows on a 1.6% decline in December, the largest in nine years. Eight out of 13 categories saw improvement in January, including the largest increase in spending on building materials since late 2017.