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Pisani: Jobs? March Sales Are Important, Too

Retail sales for March: another month that may be better than expected. While everyone is fixated on the jobs report, watch out for March same store sales, due April 8. February retail sales were better than expected, despite bad weather, now the same may happen for March. Same thing: poor weather pattern in third week in the Northeast, but early reports seem to be encouraging.

Big names like Macy's, JCPenney, and Gap up 1 to 2 percent today.

This from ISI: "Easter Sales look good as broadline & specialty retailers reported improvement and strength was pretty broad across contacts. Consumers are buying both promotional goods as well as full priced items leading to better pricing power."

Elsewhere:

Get set: the low volatility period may be ending.

Here's an important point that Richard Anthony, Head of Equities & Derivatives for BGC has made to me: the S&P 500 has not moved more than plus or minus 1 percent for the last 18 trading sessions. That doesn't mean it hasn't gone up: it's up 1.72 percent from March 19th to the close yesterday.

In other words, the big cap index is moving up — but in the tiniest of increments each day.

In theory, this should mean that the Volatility Index (VIX) should be dropping--but it isn't. It has moved sideways for most of the month of March.

So the price swings are tiny, the S&P is moving up...and yet volatility is unchanged.

Anthony believes this is signalling that the markets are beginning to position themselves for more volatility in April...already he sees more options activity (put buying) in the May contract.

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