Retail stock investors having a tough year

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Pisani's market open: May retail sales

May retail sales rose 1.2 percent, roughly in line with expectations. Auto sales were especially strong, up 2 percent. But the rebound was bigger than that.

May retail sales

  • Building/garden: up 2.1%
  • Clothing stores: up 1.5%
  • Online stores: up 1.4%
  • Dept. stores: up 0.8%
  • Furniture: up 0.8%

It looks like the consumer is a bit stronger, certainly stronger than in April.

"Core" retail sales (excluding autos, gas, building materials and food services) were up 0.7 percent, better than an expected increase of 0.5 percent. The prior month was revised upward as well, to 0.1 percent.

This suggests second quarter GDP numbers will be revised upward.

While this is good news, retail sales year-over-year are up only 2.7 percent. That's a respectable but not great improvement.