Apr 16, 2012

Strong Retail Sales

Monday April 16, 2012

Equity markets are starting the week with a bump on better than expected retail sales, which ex-autos rose by 0.8% in March vs. expectations of 0.6%. Retail comps, reported last week, came in better than expected for March as 14 out of 21 retailers we follow beat comps. Big comps were posted by Zumiez (ZUMZ) +14%, PriceSmart (PSMT) +17%, Ross Stores (ROST) +10%, and TJX (TJX) +10%.

China’s central bank doubled the daily band it will allow the yuan to fluctuate vs. the dollar, a move which is expected to ease trade tensions and is another step closer to raising the yuan’s utilization in international settlements. The new range is +/- 1% per day.

The Summit of the Americas broke up without a consensus after President Obama refused to sign a statement promising to invite Cuba to the next gathering. The other Western Hemisphere leaders signed the statement. The trip was also a minor embarrassment to the US after secret service and DOD officials working on the event were sent back to the US due to allegations of misconduct. Does anyone else remember the President's campaign promise to improve the reputation of the US internationally? I'd say this President has done more to damage our international reputation than any President since LBJ.

Yields in Spain have been rising as the effects of the LTRO fade. “The ECB could restart direct bond purchases” suggested Benoit Coeure, a member of the ECB executive board. Eurozone officials have been making a case for a larger IMF bailout fund, however, the US has been fighting this move, saying the Eurozone has the financial resources to handle their issues.

The Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo played to a draw last night after the game was called due to lightening, an MLS first.

Have a great day


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