Don’s Notebook April 16, 2018

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In a reversal of outlooks, Retail Sales proved stronger at the headline level, up 0.6 percent in March, than the core readings which did however still post respectable gains at 0.3 percent less autos and gas and 0.4 percent for the control group. The number was seen as a test as to whether U.S. workers are putting their extra tax-cut cash into savings and debt repayments, or using it to go shopping.

  • Gasoline had been forecasted to be a spoiler in what turned out to be a very solid retail sales report for March.
  • Autos were a leading story in March, jumping 2.0 percent.
  • Other retail sales categories managed only a 0.2 percent gain following only 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent gains in the prior two months in results that do not point to much consumer strength.

Global markets seem to be treating the weekend attack in Syria as an isolated event, rather than the enlargement of the regional conflict.

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.4 percent higher as the Yen fell.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was broadly unchanged with investors apparently taking a wait-and-see approach to the Syrian missile strikes.

Q1 earnings reports continue today and economic announcements are starting to pick up.

  • Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is expected to announce after the close today.
  • Apr 16: Retail Sales
  • Apr 16: Business Inventories
  • Apr 16: Treasury International
  • Apr 17: Housing Starts
  • Apr 17: Industrial Production
  • Apr 18: Beige Book
  • Apr 19: Jobless Claims
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Dr. Don Pratl is Director of Trader Development and Education for TradeStation. He joined TradeStation in 2016 after holding similar roles with other online brokerages. Don’s long career in the financial services industry reflects expertise in administering trading and investment strategy programs for retail investors as well as financial services professionals. Since the 1980s, he has held various positions in areas including CBOE trading floor order execution, marketing, sales, personnel management, training and customer service. Don holds series 3, 4, 7 and 63 FINRA licenses, earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management, and his M.A. and B.A. in Political Science. He has been an occasional adjunct college instructor since 2004 at a range of institutions, teaching undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students using in-class and online formats.