Early North American trade has been riveting thus far as equities are turning higher, the euro has bounced somewhat after falling below 1.05, and the U.S. dollar isn’t faring as well as it has so far this week.
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell for a third straight month in February likely as harsh weather kept consumers from automobile showrooms and shopping malls, which could hurt growth prospects for the first quarter.
For the U.S. consumer the economic boost provided by lower gasoline costs is hitting at the perfect time. The Federal Reserve just ended their extensive QE stimulus program at the end of October with hope the economy could stand on its own.
What’s likely adding to investors’ nervousness is whether the latest reading for retail spending marks the end of the near 45-degree rise since March 2009 that coincides with the onset of the bull market.