Shrinking Retail Sales Dampen Markets

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It got ugly when Retail Sales reported, sending equity futures reeling. Why shouldn’t the market sell off? Especially since the expectation was for a slight gain of 0.1 percent but, instead was not only a negative 0.9 percent but, November’s strong number was revised substantially down. What the statistics don’t tell you is that retail sales were at an all-time record high last month of $447 billion for the month, December’s $443 billion was the third highest in history, and total sales for 2014 were up 4 percent from 2013. But, with low oil causing earnings to be slashed across the board and even in sectors that should benefit, like Consumer Discretionary, any bad data is causing investors to flee first and ask questions later. Please see the Retail Sales chart on page 13 of the Global Perspectives book for further insight into today’s numbers.

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