The Commerce Department is set to release its retail sales report on Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m., providing investors with a little more insight into how higher payroll taxes and rising gas prices are impacting Americans' spending habits.
Expectations call for a slight increase of 0.2 percent from January.
The report is being watched closely because although taxes and gas prices are pinching consumer pocketbooks, the labor market continues to show signs of strengthening. The government's February jobs report was much stronger than expected with the economy adding more jobs and the unemployment falling. Positive movement in the labor market does impact consumer confidence, which can subsequently buoy up consumer spending.