Monday, April 13, 2015

Tuesday: Retail Sales, PPI, Small Business Index

by Bill McBride on 4/13/2015 07:52:00 PM

Excerpts from a research note from BofA on March retail sales: "Farewell winter blues"

There is finally good news to report on the US consumer. Spending on BAC credit and debit cards was up sharply in March, following a string of weak reports. Our measure of core retail sales - ex-autos and gasoline sales - increased 0.9% mom on a seasonally adjusted basis in March. This is a notable improvement from the past three months of essentially no growth. If we include gasoline station sales, the swing is even more dramatic given the significant adjustment in gasoline prices. ...

As always when analyzing economic data, we have to be careful not to overreact to just one report. The gain in March follows several months of weak data, making the comparisons more favorable. Moreover, the early Easter holiday might have sent people shopping in late March. The weather is also an important factor; ... the regions with the harshest winter weather showed the largest declines in February and strongest gains in March.

We are hopeful that the gain in March is the beginning of a healthier trajectory for consumer spending. As we have been arguing, all signs point to a solid consumer backdrop. ... Households have repaired their balance sheets and animal spirits have improved with consumer confidence trending higher. We are therefore holding to our core view that consumer spending will accelerate into 2Q, providing much-need support to GDP tracking.
Tuesday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, the Producer Price Index for March from the BLS. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in prices, and a 0.1% increase in core PPI.

• Also at 8:30 AM, Retail sales for March will be released. The consensus is for retail sales to increase 1.0% in March, and to increase 0.7% ex-autos

• At 9:00 AM, NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March.

• 10:00 AM: Manufacturing and Trade: Inventories and Sales (business inventories) report for February. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in inventories.