He said there is concern the retail sales are flagging other concerns about the consumer and it's masked by the impact of winter weather.
Online sales, for instance, were lower, and that would be one area consumers might make up for their inability to get to stores.
Markets were also seemingly unruffled by a possible change of government in Italy as that country's prime minister, Enrico Letta, said he will tender his resignation on Friday. "It just seems to me Italy's problems don't seem acute, they seem chronic," said Marc Chandler, chief currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
(Read more: Fed moves will put lid on 2014 stock gains: Knapp)
There was also talk that Moody's could take negative action against Italy. "The euro shrugs it off. It is not a very high risk. Political changes aren't going to have an influence on their ratings. ... Their problem is chronic slow growth. So you are seeing some pressure on Italian bonds."
The euro, however, was higher.
Chandler said there were a lot of questions flying about the Fed after the weak retail sales number, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen has already cautioned weather may be a factor in weak jobs data and that the Fed needs to see more data before it can tell what's behind the sluggish reports.
She also said the bar is high on moving away from the plan to wind down bond purchases.
Goldman economists blamed weather for the weak retail sales number. "The January retail sales report was a significant disappointment, compounded by negative back revisions. Adverse weather was likely a substantial contributor to the weaker January figures. Separately, jobless claims were roughly in line with expectations. We reduced our Q1 GDP tracking estimate by four-tenths to 1.9 percent," they said in a note.
(Read more: Retail sales, blame it on the weather?)
Barclays, meanwhile, cautioned that the retail sales disappointment was not all weather.
"Weakness in autos (-2.1 percent), department stores (-1.5 percent) and eating out (-0.6 percent) led the decline and, in all likelihood, can be at least partly explained by bad weather conditions during the month, particularly on the East Coast. However, movements in some other components are more difficult to square with that as a catch-all explanation—such as a drop in internet sales (-0.3 percent) and a strong gain in building materials (1.4 percent)," they noted.
Boockvar also said the numbers don't add up, but there should be some spring back when the weather improves.
"On line retail sales went down. You would think they would go up. Maybe people went out and bought more salt and that helped buidlng materials but if construction stopped I would think that would offset (things like) plumbing repairs," he said.
—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow her on Twitter @pattidomm.