Retail Sales are Up 10%.
Isn’t that exciting? 9.8% actually but close enough. In a typical month, Retail Sales average $550Bn so up 10% is $55Bn and we only had to distribute $300Bn worth of Stimulus Checks to get it (not to mention March has 10% more days than February, but who’s counting?). Aren’t economics fun? You can manipulate the data to get any result you want if you plan ahead!
It’s my job to cut through all the BS and tell you what is really happening. You have to look behind the data, like the price of gasoline rising 10% in February and Gasoline Sales contributed $10Bn (20%) of the $50Bn bump. Restaurant Sales were up 13.4% as restaurants re-opened and clothing stores jumped 18.3% as people went to malls for the first time in a year.
This is, generally, good news but to get all excited about a report that, in effect, shows that 20% of the stimulus checks were spent by the people who got them – is not really a solid premise for forecasting future growth. Nonetheless, the Dow is making new highs and the S&P is near them as it’s a good headline to start the day with in the markets.