CNBC's Tyler Mathisen looks back at the week's top business and financial stories. A shortened trading week, this week, as Easter is on Sunday. The week ended positive after Janet Yellen reassured investors. Low rates could be around another two years, she said.» Read More
Strong evidence is emerging that consumer spending, a bulwark against recession over the last year even as energy prices surged and the housing market sputtered, has begun to slow sharply at every level of the American economy, from the working class to the wealthy.
U.S. chain stores, reeling from the slowest holiday shopping season in five years, got some more bad news Sunday: 2008 will not be any better and could see changes that may shift the retail playing field forever.
Vacancy rates at U.S. regional malls rose and rents fell during the fourth quarter due to concerns about consumer spending and a potential slowdown in the national economy, real estate research firm Reis said.
Cramer often tells Homegamers to be wary when a new CEO takes the helm of a company. This is the exception to the rule. Investing can be confusing. Luckily, Cramer has mapped out some road rules for all you Home Gamers trying to navigate the jungle that is Wall Street. Think of it as "Mad Money 101" –- some fundamental advice to keep in mind as you play the market. Whether you're a first time investor or a seasoned financier, it's always good to remember the basics.
Retailers holding up despite a poor December showing. Don't get too excited; this was one of the most shorted groups on the street. But aside from a short squeeze rally, what would it take to get investors back in a real way? Besides signs that we are not going into a deep recession, the most important factor for retail stock investors is limiting store growth.
Traders are looking at the latest retail sales figures and thinking twice about snapping up crude. According to Thompson Financials combined retail index, November and December sales stalled to 2004 level.
The American consumer is cutting back--even at the most important (and typically extravagant) spending times of the year. That's the one clear headline from all the recent retail numbers. Markdowns ate profits, that's also clear. But figuring out just what's going on with the consumer involves a few shades of gray...
European shares lost ground on Thursday, hitting their lowest point so far this year after the European Central Bank reinforced its willingness to raise rates to counter inflation.
Big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco saw sales that exceeded expectations, but most niche retailers saw their sales drop or saw sales grow less than expected.
Consumer spending didn't slow down that much but apparently consumer bill paying has. Look at Capital One. The company is taking a $1.9 billion provision for loan losses in the fourth quarter and cut its full year profit forecast by more than 20 percent, blaming rising consumer loan losses and higher legal reserves.
Disappointing. Challenging. Uncertain. Short of expectations. Those are the words most heard from companies in this morning's December same store sales report. Large companies like Macy's, Gap, Abercrombie, and Ann Taylor reported sales below expectations.
The Bank of England left interest rates on hold at 5.5 percent Thursday, despite clear signs of weakness in the retail and housing sectors.
J. Sainsbury, Britain's third-largest supermarket group, said its sales rose and gave a relatively upbeat view of consumer spending, bucking the trend of retailers' gloomy predictions.
The Bank of England is likely to hold interest rates steady at 5.5 percent when it meets Thursday, analysts told CNBC.com, but it looks set to resume its monetary-easing strategy in February.
Retailer Metro said Thursday fourth-quarter sales rose 8.3 percent from a year ago, pushed higher by consumers making more purchases in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.
European equities dropped on Wednesday, ending at their lowest close in 1-1/2 month as worries over the prospect of a U.S. recession rattled investors, while retail shares sank after Mark and Spencer's profit warning.
You know that bad news is coming when even the industry groups (like Shoppertrak and ICSC) report that traffic/sales results are falling below their expectations. Today, Shoppertrak really tried to push a merry headline on its report that showed that holiday foot traffic slipped 2.7 percent versus 2006 and fell more dramatically than forecast (down 4.7 percent in December.)
Marks & Spencer, Britain's largest clothing retailer, reported its worst quarterly performance in two years on Wednesday, adding to signs of a slowdown in British consumer spending.
Australia's retail sales rose by more than expected in November as strong growth in jobs and incomes offset increases in interest rates and petrol prices, suggesting rates may yet have to rise again to cool demand. Wednesday's government data showed retail sales climbed 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted in November to A$20.07 billion ($17.6 billion). That handily beat forecasts of a 0.5 percent gain while sales increased by 8.1 percent on the year, the equal highest increase since June 2004.
Some electronics retailers had huge success in 2007, but the year left others bruised. A CES retail panel featured executives from both kinds of companies.