The past five years haven't been the brightest for the economy or consumers, but that hasn't held back retail stocks. It's been the consumer that has led the way for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since the Oct. 9, 2007, closing peak for the blue chip index, with two retailers landing among the top five performers since that time.
Although consumers' paychecks got a bit lighter this year when the 2 percent payroll tax cut expired, Wall Street analysts see reason to remain bullish on defensive retailers.
The American paycheck's not the only thing that's shrinking as big business thinks of creative ways — from smaller packages to deep price cuts — to capture the hesitant consumer's dollar amid signs of weak sales.
If your portfolio is awash in red marks and minus signs, perhaps you’re making this mistake.
Stocks soared for a second day to finish near session highs Wednesday, with the Dow within less than 100 points of an all-time closing high, boosted by upbeat earnings and economic reports and as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his support of the central bank's stimulus policy.
Take a look at some of Wednesday's midday movers:
Dollar Tree, known for selling a large selection of products for $1 or less, had produced higher than predicted quarterly profits this year.
There is a big potential upside in one group of stocks, which have been beaten down as of late Cramer said.
U.S. stock index futures edged higher Wednesday following the durable goods orders report and ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's second round of testimony, but ongoing worries over political deadlock in Italy kept a lid on gains.
Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell Wednesday:
Volatility calmed down Tuesday but brace yourself: Pros say bigger gyrations could be the norm for the next few weeks as investors watch what's going on in Washington and Europe.
Retail earnings due out Wednesday will give the market a sense of what's going on among discount shoppers. Wall Street will get the fourth-quarter earnings reports from discounters Target, Dollar Tree and TJX as well as department store JCPenney.
The "Mad Money" host reveals what he plans to follow in the days to come.
Washington's budget debate could stir up new anxieties as markets head into March, even with expected reassurances about Fed policy from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in the week ahead. Europe could also come back into play in the coming week, as currency traders are focused on the outcome of the Italian election.
Next week is the biggest one of the earnings season for the retailers. While each will have different nuances, and wrap up the key holiday quarter, Wall Street will be focused on the sales forecast for the current quarter.
Stocks pared their losses in the final hour of trading Thursday to close off their lows, with the S&P 500 clawing back above the widely-watched 1,500 level.
In a market environment littered with deals, CNBC's Jim Cramer sees a growing divergence between market pros on the bullish and bearish ends of the spectrum.
CNBC's Jim Cramer sees an important divergence between high end retailers and the rest of the sector.
Should you play the dollar stores for a bounce? Or will they just keep going lower?
The resilient shopper has managed to dazzle once again. Here are Jim Cramer's takeaways.