Shoppers carry bags of purchased merchandise at the King of Prussia Mall, United States” largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania [File: Mark Makela/Reuters]

The United States economy grew at a solid 3.2 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, a far better outcome than expected, overcoming a host of headwinds including global weakness, rising trade tensions and a partial government shutdown.

The advance in the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, marks an acceleration from a 2.2 percent gain in the previous October-December period, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. However, about half the gain reflected two factors not expected to last – a big jump in stockpiling by businesses and a sharp

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