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A Spring Fling for Stocks

Spring flowers
Ron Bambridge | Getty Images

After winter must come spring, but who's to say what's next for market trends when winter barely even presented itself? Typical trends in the first week of spring for the S&P are basically flat lined; trading positive just 60% of the time with average negative returns of a mere 0.01 percent.

This year was somewhat of a wild card for the markets though. One sector, in particular, may be witnessing early signs of profitability after an unseasonably warm winter; and that's retail.

JPMorgan's Senior Broadline Retail Analyst and Managing Director, Matthew Boss, tells CNBC's Power Lunch that while retail might be trending higher right now, we won't know its full potential until after earnings are released. "We went from warmest winter on record serving as a material headwind, to a February that was 14-15 degrees warmer than normal representing a tailwind. Average multiples for department stores were 5x EBITDA and 4x for specialty retailers both rising 1 multiple each in the last 6 weeks. If multiples hold and earnings results were to improve above Street expectations against easier compares in the 2nd half, retail could be the next winner," Boss says.

There is another angle of retail to keep a close eye on though, and it's found in the hardlines or consumer product space. Home improvement retailers and garden centers may be getting a head start as warmer temperatures typically heed spring cleaning and routine home maintenance. "Home Depot, Lowes, and Tractor Supply Co. are large beneficiaries of early Spring weather, particularly when temperatures are warmer year-over-year. An earlier Spring helps to jump start the lawn & garden season and, while it can pull forward some sales, an early start the spring generally leads to a longer lawn & garden season and increased sales of outdoor products," says Peter Keith, Piper Jaffray's Senior Research Analyst.

He adds that "the second quarter represents the highest revenue quarter for both Home Depot & Lowe's." Much unlike a majority of the other retailers who see peak revenue during the Q4 holiday season.

While this all may seem like great news for homebuilders as a whole, it's strictly only recognized in the consumer space. Home construction likely won't see benefits from the early spring. "If weather was the only factor holding back home construction, then the warmer temperature would be an amazing bellwether of a strong start to the spring and summer selling season," Nela Richardson of Redfin tells CNBC. "Instead, builders are held back by significant economic winds (not polar ones) like the high cost of land and the shortage of skilled labor. "