Trader Talk

Dollar Falls To New Low But Retail Rises In February

The U.S. dollar hit a new low as the Fed's Pianalto says the U.S. economy has stalled. Dollar weakness again helping oil. Jumbo mortgage lender Thornburg Mortgage failed to meet a margin call of about $28 million which has triggered cross-defaults.

The Bank of England stuck to its inflation fighting credentials byleaving rates unchanged at 4 percent and the ECB did the same

Retail sales: Retailers reported retail sales for February up 2 percent, according to RetailMetrics. That is at the high end of expectations.

Discounters and club stores are doing very well:

--Wal-Mart beat up 2.6 percent, better than 1.1 percent. They expect March comps to come in between 0 to 2 percent (thanks a lot!), with some recovery in discretionary items.
--Targetwas a bit better.
--Costco , BJ's Wholesale , and Big Lots , which reported yesterday, were all better than expected.

Teen retailers mixed: Aeropostale and Hot Topic were better than expected, but American Eagle lowered first quarter estimates

Department stores struggling: JC Penney down 6.7 percent, well below expectations, Nordstrom's down 3.3 percent (3 straight months of negative comps for Nordstrom) Nieman Marcus down 7.4 percent.

Apparell mixed: Ann Taylor a little better than expected, but Gap, Abercrombie, Chico's worse than expected; TJX up 3 percent, a bit shy of expectations but still pretty good

March will probably be difficult for retailers, because last year Easter fell on the last day for the fiscal month and caught a long Easter selling period, so overall comps were up 6 percent, but this year Easter is very early and in years when Easter is early the colder weather has not usually benefited retailers.

Questions?  Comments?