With another weak retail sales number released this morning, market participants and economists are asking themselves why aren’t consumers spending? It seems like economists have complained forever that the U. S. is full of profligate spenders, and now that it appears we are becoming a nation of savers economists are concerned that there’s not enough spending going on. Of course, this lack of demand can keep a lid on prices at the retail level, which makes it difficult for the Fed to achieve that 2% inflation number that they target. Regardless, despite more money in their pocket via lower energy prices, crazy spending Americans seem to have changed their stripes, at least for the moment.
As for the markets, stocks drifted aimlessly today. By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7 points to finish the day at 18,060. The S&P 500 was down a fraction to close at 2098. Gold was up $22 to trade at $1214 per ounce, while oil was down $.69 to trade at $60.06 per barrel WTI.
Bonds rallied early on the retail sales number, but gave up those gains later in the day. Stocks might take their cue from bonds for a while so we’ll keep an eye on the bond market as the summer unfolds.
Have a nice evening everyone.