Market Looking Soft On Weak Retail Sales Report - Economic Highlights

An image of a pen, a tablet and a calculator
Credit: Shutterstock photo

The weaker than expected retail sales reading provides a soft backdrop for today's trading action, likely making it difficult for the market to reverse the Wednesday pullback. Stocks have made strong gains lately, with the broad indexes in record territory, leaving them vulnerable to any negative news flow in this seasonally weak period.

The soft Retail Sales read this morning follows the weak report last month as well. This runs counter to the broadly improving trend in economic data that has been pointing towards the U.S. economy shaking off the forces that held it down in the first quarter of the year. Retail Sales are important as they serve as a proxy for the all-important consumer spending component of the economy, even though it isn't a perfect proxy as the report tracks nominal (or non inflation adjusted) sale of merchandise at the retail and food service establishments. In other words, this report measures the durables and non-durables components of consumer spending.

Today's report was expected to clarify the picture and assure us of a May rebound on the merchandize and durables side, but we didn't see that. The saving grace of today's report is that the April numbers were modestly revised higher. That said, this report will have some dampening effect on GDP growth estimates for the current period. Stepping back from this and other recent data releases, it is obvious that the U.S. economy has bounced back in Q2, but the magnitude of the rebound may not be as strong as many had expected. As we saw in today's report, weather may not have been the only restraint in Q1. We are seeing this in housing, business capital spending and other economic data. This means that we should be skeptical of hopes of above-trend growth going forward.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

To read this article on click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Other Topics


Latest Markets Videos


    Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at

    Learn More