A MAJOR JUMP FOR RETAIL SALES
Friday, the Department of Commerce reported a 1.3% April gain in U.S. retail purchases. The core retail sales advance was also impressive at 0.9%. Minus car and truck buying, retail sales were still up 0.8% last month.
IMPROVEMENT IN CONSUMER SENTIMENT
The University of Michigan’s much-watched household sentiment index rebounded 6.8 points to 95.8 in its initial May reading. Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin cited “frequent income gains, an improved jobs outlook, and the expectation of lower inflation and interest rates” as reasons for the sudden rise.
WHOLESALE INFLATION PICKS UP
The April Producer Price Index displayed a moderate rise, in contrast to preceding months. Wholesale inflation rose 0.2% last month, 0.3% with food and energy costs subtracted.
A DOWN WEEK ON WALL STREET
Despite some notably positive economic indicators, stocks pulled back for the week as first-quarter earnings from major retailers disappointed. The Dow fell hardest, losing 1.16% across five days; the NASDAQ slipped 0.39% for the week; the S&P 500, 0.51%. The three major indices settled on Friday as follows: DJIA, 17,535.32; NASDAQ, 4,717.68; S&P, 2,046.61. Oil was at $46.29 on the NYMEX as the stock market closed Friday; gold was at $1,275.20 on the COMEX
THIS WEEK: Monday, Agilent Technologies reports quarterly results. Wall Street assesses earnings from Home Depot, Red Robin, and TJX Companies on Tuesday, along with the April Consumer Price Index and reports on April industrial output, housing starts and building permits. Wednesday offers minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April policy meeting along with earnings from American Eagle Outfitters, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cisco, L Brands, Lowe’s, Staples, Take-Two Interactive, Target, Hormel Foods, Urban Outfitters, and Williams-Sonoma. On Thursday, investors will watch for a new initial claims report and earnings releases from Advance Auto Parts, Applied Materials, Autodesk, Bon-Ton, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dollar Tree, Gap, Perry Ellis, Ross Stores, Shoe Carnival, Stein Mart, Toro, and Walmart. April existing home sales numbers arrive Friday, plus earnings news from Campbell Soup, Deere & Co., and Foot Locker.