The U.S. Week Ahead (Mar 11-15), At The U.S. Retail Sales Register

By Steven Levine, Senior Market Analyst, Interactive Brokers 

U.S. economic releases are set to surge in the week ahead, while investors grapple with a long list of uncertainties, including slowing Chinese growth, monetary policy shifts in Europe, as well as trade negotiations and Brexit developments.

Among the host of updates in the U.S., market participants will receive fresh reports on retail sales, inflation, durable goods, new home sales, and consumer sentiment.

On the corporate front, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will host its annual Consumer and Retail Tech Conference, and in fixed-income, the U.S. Treasury is set to auction new three-, 10- and 30-year government debt.

The week shifts into gear with—

Monday, March 11

  • Retail Sales (Jan)
  • 3-year U.S. Treasury Note Auction

Investors in the week ahead will be eyeing January’s advanced retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau after the prior month registered gloomy numbers.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Ward McCarthy, the chief financial economist at Jefferies, had characterized December’s data as “truly dreadful,” and if taken literally, it would suggest the consumer sector “collapsed” in the month. He continued that the release was “such an outlier and so incongruous with the general trend in consumer spending, holiday consumer sales reports and holiday seasons consumer credit data” that it raised red flags about reliability. 

McCarthy added that the results were “sufficiently weak that it will no doubt fire-up the fear-of-recession anxieties that have percolated so many times this cycle. 

“From the Fed standpoint, it will also make policymakers more conformable that the ‘patient’ approach to rate policy is appropriate.”

U.S. retail and food services sales for December fell 1.2% from the previous month to US$505.8bn, along with a downward revision for the October 2018 to November 2018 change to +0.1% from +0.2%. Year-on-year in December, clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 4.7%, while food services and drinking places were up 4.0%.

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The analysis in this material is provided for information only and is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this ...

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