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Wall Street starts higher despite retail sales disappointment

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The main indices on Wall Street got off to a positive start on Friday despite the latest batch of US retail sales data falling short of expectations.

In the first minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.73% at 34,269 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.8% to 4,145 and the Nasdaq rose 1.09% to 13,268.

The positive start followed reports that US retail sales for April were flat at US$619bn, though they were up 51% compared to April 2020.

Consensus had placed a 1% rise month-on-month in April, after a 9.7% surge in March helped by government stimulus.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores were up 726% from April 2020, while food services and drinking places rocketed 116%.

7:40am: Wall Street set for higher open

Wall Street futures are pointing towards a positive open on Friday as optimism over the upcoming US retail sales data seems to be quelling the ongoing jitters about inflation.

Retail sales are forecast to rise 1% month-on-month in April after surging 9.7% in March, helped by government stimulus.

“There’s a good chance this month’s retail sales number could come in ahead of forecasts as households continue spending those stimulus cheques,” said Sophie Griffiths at OANDA.

“With investors keen to buy the dips, the sell-off earlier this week is looking increasingly like a natural correction within the ongoing uptrend rather than anything more sinister.”

“Concerns over runaway US inflation have been offset by signs that the labour market recovery is still on track and reassuring Fed speakers. The Fed continues to drum home the message that it’s too soon to talk about tightening monetary policy, and the market is listening again. Fed speakers have been out in droves over the past few days, hoping to get the message across to the market: the Fed is not planning on moving on policy anytime soon.”

Four things to watch for on Friday:

  • The earnings diary is a little bare for the end of the week, with chemical company Diversey Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:DSEY) among the few businesses scheduled to report
  • Shares in Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) will be in focus after the media giant reported better thane expected earnings after Thursday’s close, although subscriber growth for Disney+ did show signs of slowing
  • Crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) will also see some post-earnings attention after it upgraded its monthly user forecasts for the full year
  • On the macro front, aside from the retail sales figures investors will be keeping an eye on US production figures for April as well as a bundle of consumer sentiment readings

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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