April's U.S. retail sales report Friday is expected to show a pickup from the recent soft trend, and not necessarily reflect the gloomy comments coming from embattled store operators.
Economists project retail sales rose by 0.8 percent after sliding 0.3 percent in March. Auto sales were strong, but excluding automobiles, forecasts are still for an increase of 0.5 percent, compared to 0.2 percent for March. The producer price index is also expected at 8:30 EDT and is forecast to show a gain of 0.3 percent compared to March's decline of 0.1 percent. Consumer sentiment and business inventories are released at 10 a.m.
The retail earnings train wreck continued after Thursday's closing bell with misses from Nordstrom and Dillard's on both the top and bottom lines. They join a list of retailers, including Macy's, in reporting disappointing earnings and a malaise among shoppers.