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Roundup: Retail sales soar / Mortgage rates / Big Tech crackdown – Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

Spending spree: Armed with $1,400 stimulus checks, Americans went on a spending spree last month, buying new clothes and going out to eat again. Retail sales surged a seasonally adjusted 9.8% in March after dropping about 3% the month before, the Commerce Department said this morning. The increase was the biggest since May of last year, when stores reopened after closing at the start of the pandemic. Read the full story. 

Dip may be a blip: For seven weeks in a row, mortgage rates steadily moved higher. Then they started pulling back last week. But despite this week’s decline, experts don’t expect their downturn to be long-lasting, according to The Washington Post. According to the latest data from Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 3.03%. It was 3.13% a week ago and 3.31% a year ago. Read the full report. 

Reining in power: The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has formally approved a report accusing Big Tech companies of buying or crushing smaller firms, Reuters reports. The report will now become the blueprint for legislation to rein in the market power of the likes of Alphabet Inc’s Google, Apple Inc, and Facebook. Read the full story.