Stock Futures, Bonds Steady on Retail Sales

Once again, more data to validate the strength of the U.S. economy — it might be easier just to start issuing the economic reports with one word: ditto!

Retail stores enjoying sales in the holiday seasonNovember retail same-store sales rose about four percent. Retailers, coming off the strongest holiday season in seven years, continue to benefit from rising wages, a robust housing market, abundant credit, and low unemployment rates. Retail stocks, though, have been dragged down by concern that rising oil prices and interest rates will damp spending, Bloomberg reported.

“Right now there’s little reason to expect any major pullback in consumer spending,” Paul Kasriel, chief U.S. economist at Northern Trust Co. in Chicago, told Bloomberg. “But looking ahead, I think the Federal Reserve is going to make sure there is.”

Retail stocks have been the favorite whipping boys of the Dow lately. This report should help the group bounce, at least today.

Stock futures and bonds are steady on the news. There is little new in the market today, other than the decision by the European Central Bank to leave interest rates unchanged. European stocks haven’t reacted to the news; the euro currency is steady, off slightly on the dollar.

Bonds want to break out, apparently waiting for the slowdown theme to emerge once again. Bonds have held up well, with recent economic reports indicating that the U.S. economy is still booming.

Oil continues its seemingly relentless climb. Inventories are tight, but there may be a crack emerging in the cartel. The Wall Street Journal reported the oil ministers of Mexico and Norway said they were prepared to act independently of OPEC, if necessary, to help relieve the global oil shortage.