1) The initial public offering (IPO) market continues to function, with mixed results. China's largest online beauty products retailer Jumei International Holdings (JMEI) priced 11.1 million shares—more than expected - at $22, above the $19.50 to $21.50 range.
An increase in size and price? We haven't seen a deal increase in size and price since Grubhub went public early in the year. This is the seventh Chinese IPO this year, but on average there has been no follow-through. So the issue is, when can we expect it to happen?
For the answer to that question, you might not want to look to the NASDAQ. Car-pricing comparison website TrueCar priced 7.7 million shares at $9, well below the $12 to $14 range. What happened?
That's about 30 percent less in terms of proceeds than expected. This is another example of a relatively low-margin business, and it's difficult to get a lot of repeat business (how often do you buy a car?)
The jury's still out on whether the IPO market has bottomed. The Renaissance Capital IPO ETF closed at its low for the year yesterday. No surprise there, as half of the 107 IPOs floated this year are still trading below their initial price.
This follows on the successful pricing of customer relationship management firm Zendesk at $9, in the middle of the $8 to $10 price talk. However, they sold 25 percent of that IPO to insiders.
2) Retail earnings: in a word, dismal. More than a third of the way through the earnings season for this sector, and the bad news just keeps piling up. Put simply, the best that can be said about their earnings is that forward-looking trends may be improving.
Yes, it's encouraging that Kohls, Macy's and even Wal-Mart indicated customer traffic improved going into May. And guidance has been relatively stable: Macys and Nordstrom at least reiterated theirs. Cato, Gap and L Brands have also raised guidance. Fossil guided lower.
Yet the actual numbers are terrible. How bad is it?
At the start of the year, RetailMetrics had a consensus estimate that earnings for the 124 companies they track would be up 13.3 percent year-over-year. At the beginning of this week, it was only to be expected to be up —wait for it —1.3 percent.
It gets worse. For the 51 companies that have reported so far, earnings are actually down 3.7 percent year-over-year. Yikes!
--By CNBC's Bob Pisani