Retail Sales and Import/Export Prices Show Gains

We had two rounds of economic readings this Wednesday morning: retail sales for the month of January, as well as import and export prices for the month of January.

Retail sales rose by 0.1% last month. Excluding autos, sales were up by 0.2%, and they also were up by 0.2% on an ex-auto and gas basis. Bloomberg and Dow Jones both expected a 0.1% increase. January was the first full month with payroll tax implications the middle class and below.

The report on import and export prices showed a 0.6% gain on imports and exports up 0.3%. Bloomberg was calling for a gain of 0.8% in the import prices and for a gain of 0.3% on the export prices.

This morning’s economic readings were too much in-line with estimates to make much of a difference in the markets today. Business inventories will be released at 10:00 a.m. EST. S&P 500 futures are trading up about two points, and DJIA futures are trading up about 10 points this morning. The market is going to keep looking for direction on Wednesday, and that direction is not coming from the report on retail sales nor from import and export prices.

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