OFFICIAL FIGURES SHOW RETAILERS FARED BETTER THAN EXPECTED WELL IN THE POST CHRSTMAS SALES.

DATA FROM THE AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS SHOW RETAIL SALES JUMPED POINT NINE PER CENT IN JANUARY IN SEASONALLY ADJUSTED TERMS.

THAT COMPARES WITH EXPECTATIONS OF A POINT FOUR PER CENT RISE.

IT COMES AFTER A NEGATIVE DECEMBER READING

retail and financial stocks are leading THE AUSTRALIAN SHAREMARKET higher ,.... RECOVERING YESTERDAY'S LOSSES... SPARKED BY MOVES TO COOL CHINA'S PROPERT MARKET

THE ALL ORDS IS UP xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

THE ASX 200 INDEX IS

WALL STREET MADE A LATE SURGE.

THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE ADDED A QUARTER OF A PERCENT

SPOT GOLD IS XXXXX IN ASIAN TRADE

US OIL PRICES HAVE SLIPPED ON MUTED EXPECTATIONS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH AND INCREASED LOCAL SUPPY.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS UP AGAINST THE GREENBACK OVERNIGHT

THE RESERVE BANK IS EXPECTED TO LEAVE INTEREST RATES ON HOLD WHEN IT MEETS TODAY.

MOST ECONOMISTS BELIEVE THE CASH RATE WILL BE KEPT AT THREE PERCENT.

THE OFFICIAL RATE WAS LAST CUT IN DECEMBER.

ECONOMISTS SAY THE CENTRAL BANK HAS ROOM TO SIT AND WAIT FOR THE SIX PREVIOUS CUTS HANDED DOWN OVER since november 20-11 TO FLOW THROUGH THE ECONOMY.

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