Retail sales improve; jobless claims fall
But skepticism about consumers pushes retail stocks lower. Macy's drops nearly 5%.
This morning's retail sales and jobless claims reports added to hopes that the economy is slowly starting to pick up again.
The overall gain in May retail sales was mostly due to a 3.6% jump in gasoline sales, as prices at the pump have surged about 28% over the past six weeks.
Vehicle sales rose 0.5% last month, as consumers took advantage of deals at troubled automakers.
Excluding gas and autos, sales were up 0.1% last month. Retail sales fell a revised 0.2% in April and 1.2% in March.
"We expect retail sales to begin to pick up later this summer and into the fall," Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners, wrote in a note this morning.
- Top Stocks blog: Market danger may be overconfidence
Sales at clothing stores rose 0.4% last month, with food and beverage stores also seeing a 0.4% increase. Sales fell 0.5% at electronics stores and 0.8% at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.
The jobs picture wasn't as rosy for continuing jobless claims as it was for initial claims, however.
Continuing claims for benefits hit a new high of 6.82 million, up 59,000 in the week ending May 30. Continuing claims have hit record highs for 19 consecutive weeks.
Still, one expert was optimistic about a bottom for job losses.
"We view the recent initial jobless claims readings as fairly convincing evidence that the worst of the labor market recession has passed," Nomura Securities chief economist David Resler wrote in a note to clients after the report was released.
"Jobless claims remain at a very high level and employment is likely to continue to decline. But the weekly claims reports suggest the first quarter will likely prove (to have been) the peak for job losses."
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] Equities ended on their lows with the S&P 500 down 1.4%.
The S&P entered today's session with a week-to-date gain of 1.5% as investors expected reassuring words from today's Federal Open Market Committee Statement.
Stocks traded with slim losses until this afternoon's FOMC Statement and subsequent comments from Chairman Bernanke sent equities and Treasuries to their lows while also providing a significant boost to the dollar.
Today's Statement was ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|
LATEST MARKET DISPATCHES
- No more Dispatches; here's where to find market news
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
- Dow falls 59 as late-day gloom kills a rally
- Stocks held back by fiscal-cliff worries
- Stocks suffer worst weekly loss in 5 months
- Dow off 121 as post-election swoon continues
- Dow slumps 313 after Obama's re-election
- Dow jumps 133 as Americans head to the polls
Plus, after much ado, Softbank is oh-so-close to acquiring Sprint.