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By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales rebounded in February and new applications for unemployment benefits hit a fresh three-month low last week, suggesting some strength in the economy after harsh weather abruptly slowed activity in recent months. The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month as receipts rose in most categories. "We see this as further confirmation that the underlying momentum in the economy remains quite favorable, and we look for further upside spending momentum in the coming months." Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising 0.2 percent in February. Economists had expected only a marginal increase in retail sales in February after snow and ice blanketed densely populated regions during the first half of the month.