Consumer Spending May Not Be So Bad After All
Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.
There were two interesting items to note today on the consumer front. Last month, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) noted that consumer sales had begun to sharply deteriorate, likely due to the increase in taxes. However, Wal-Mart made a complete 180 today and stated that after the two-week delay in tax returns, February sales normalized. On the other side of that coin was a statement from Mastercard's (NYSE:MA) US markets president, who said that the company saw "some consumer deceleration" in February.
On the earnings front, Costco (NYSE:COST) reporting earnings in the morning and its EPS beat at $1.10 versus $1.06 estimates, but revenues missed at $24.87 billion versus $24.95 billion estimates.
In the commodity space, gold rose nearly 1% and copper began to turn up after three straight weeks of declines.
In non-financial news, black smoke was seen coming from the chimney over the Sistine Chapel, signaling that the first day's papal elections were inconclusive and would continue into a second day.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow, there will be a host of economic data released, starting with the MBA Mortgage Index at 7:00 a.m. EDT. At 8:30 a.m. EDT, we will see the February retail sales report, along with import and export prices, which will be followed by January business inventories at 10:00 a.m. EDT. That will be followed by the crude oil inventory report at 10:30 a.m. EDT and the Treasury budget at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
We'll also see some earnings reports. Notable names include TravelCenters of America (NYSE:TA) and Kronos (NYSE:KRO) before the open and Guess? (NYSE:GES) and Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) after the close.
In terms of news, investors should watch for a potential announcement out of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL); investors have been anticipating news regarding a special dividend and/or repurchase program, as well as new products.
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