Hong Kong rallied to a 7-year high. The China H-shares—the Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong—have seen huge turnover recently. Mainland Chinese investors who have seen gains in the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges seem to be rotating out and into Hong Kong, which has lagged the mainland. There has also been very large volume in ETFs that track Hong Kong-listed shares.
1) Europe rallied after Greece paid off its IMF loan installment. Portugal's market is up 31 percent this year, French stocks have gained 21 percent, and the German DAX is up 23 percent.
2) Not many retailers still report monthly same store sales, but among the few that do, the results for March are a bit disappointing.
L Brands was a winner, posting comparable store sale that were up 9 percent, way ahead of expectations. Margins also improved, and the company's Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works brands both showed strength.
Costco reported negative 2 percent comps, its first negative comp since Aug. 2009. Obviously the gas priced decline was an issue for the retailer, but even excluding the crude impact, the core same store sales number was only up 4 percent, below expectations.
Overall, I'm a bit disappointed. We had a very early Easter, and when that happens, March is usually a bit loaded at the front end. Let's hope things turn around as the weather improves.
One item that was not disappointing: Constellation Brands, which not only beat but reported an 11-percent increase in beer sales (in constant currency). Some may have expected more, but that is a pretty good number. Mexican beer like Corona and Modelo is on fire!
Constellation stock at an historic high.