Maria Bartiromo's look at the week ahead
Retail sales numbers, consumer sentiment data and the Fed could all affect the market
We’ll soon get further information on how consumers are feeling with a couple of different reports. Next Friday, retail sales for February will be announced. For the previous month, retail sales were higher than expected, growing 0.5 percent…and strength was seen across virtually all sectors.
It will be interesting to see if that retail strength carried through to February. Recent jobless numbers have been higher than the market was expecting, which could translate into slower sales. And yet, the recently released Thomson-Reuters same-store sales index for February rose 4%, its best showing since November of 2007.
Also Friday, the University of Michigan releases its first survey of consumer sentiment for March. Consumer confidence generally weakened last month, and the previous survey showed the long-term outlook for the economy is still of concern to people.
The future direction of interest rates is always important to the market, and Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig has recently made comments about raising rates sooner than expected. This week, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks on Tuesday, and it will be interesting to see if and how he addresses that same topic.
On the earnings calendar, keep an eye on Tuesdays’ report from Kroger (KR) one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers. Other companies reporting next week include H&R Block (HRB) on Monday and National Semiconductor (NSM) on Thursday.
And expect ongoing developments in many of the big issues the Street is watching closely, including the sovereign debt crisis in Greece and other nations, as well as both financial and health care reform.
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