Retail Sales Surged 1.1 Percent in February

Suzanne O'Halloran analyzes the morning business headlines.
2:33 | 03/13/12

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Transcript for Retail Sales Surged 1.1 Percent in February
You're watching live coverage of the opening bell on ABC news now bringing about the -- members of we build a -- -- About -- Tuesday march 13 hello everyone I'm Stephanie sign New York. Dow futures were up ahead of the bell this morning on strong at retail sales. Joining now to discuss all the business headlines at this hour Susanna -- -- from Bloomberg TV good mornings is angry to see you. Each -- so let's start with his positive retail sales number for February which came out about an hour ago. They were up one point 1% the best showing in five months. How much can we make of this headline yeah. It's actually very get headline for the economy it says consumers are more comfortable spending what was also interesting. As well was the January number was revised a little bit higher and we looked deeper into the numbers there's roughly about thirteen categories. That economists -- the Commerce Department tracks. And eleven of those rose with the exception of furniture for example so is a very broad based report. Better than expected so very encouraging not -- why we are -- A -- -- not a higher open on Wall Street and -- also -- -- as we now gas prices it -- taking higher and it appears. Based on retail sales for February that it didn't it's here consumers from shopping. So -- to get saying it's -- keep this rally going for today anyways yeah I just in the first sixty seconds of trading the Dow trading above thirteen thousand at that critical level. And like you said we've been talking nearly every day about rising gas prices I I imagine -- something we need to keep our eye on -- in coming months yeah absolutely because look out February a lot of these economic reports we get are actually it -- so. February retail sales -- -- practically in the middle of march and what's interesting about gas prices gas in. February they're averaging about 35356. According to AAA. Now -- about 380 -- certainly there's been a significant increase. Just in the past couple of weeks on the march retail sales number we'll certainly be interesting but the other flip side of this story -- The job market spent improving we've had healthy job gains for the first couple of months of 2012. Well over 200000 jobs are being created so. Unlike we saw last year we -- uptick in fuel prices the job market was certainly. Not on the rebound were seen that now to some extent so that's actually -- could be according to economists helping ease. The price of higher gasoline from OK -- due out at 10 and this morning numbers on business inventories what are we looking for there. -- just need to be pretty get as well those are expected certainly any better than that the January number again it's February -- expected to rise about five tenths of a percent. And what this tells us that if the number comes and as expected is that businesses are we struck -- restocking inventories and this -- -- very get economic indicator as well because also tells us that. Shops -- stores department stores alike. Are comfortable actually keeping inventories a little bit higher than they have been over the past year because they're comfortable they can -- that inventory. And what we dealt with a little bit and we had the economic slowdown was. Very lean inventories and even if consumers wanted to spend money in some cases the stores didn't have the product -- purchased so. This is just another piece of economic data it's not necessarily a big market mover like the retail sales numbers but certainly it will be closely -- especially. As we head into the Fed's decision later today yeah and let's talk about that the Fed's open market committee will weigh in on interest rates should we expect any changes. Yet -- like changes to interest rates most economists feel that the Fed will maintain their stance to keep interest rates low for an extended period of time. But this meeting could be very interesting because that they were just talking about we certainly have seen a change in inflation and gas prices up about 13%. Over the past month so that's certainly something that will be listening for will the Fed weigh in on that it will they. Say that they're concerned about that's something the market will be watching about also. We've continued to get those improving numbers on the job front in manufacturing. To house instead going to address that are they going to say something to -- fact that the economy is. Improving. At a good clip that would be newsworthy as well and howitzer and give us an idea and if perhaps. The Fed -- change their longer term direction on interest rates -- or call. The Fed has publicly stated that interest rates will likely stay low -- when he fourteen. But the improving economic picture particularly hearing he lets me change that -- something that the markets will be watching and part of the -- -- -- Stephanie that we've seen such. Big rise in stocks this year is because. Of that better economic data -- certainly -- if dean. All eyes are going to be -- -- that we could potentially see the rally underway now meeting Peter off a little bit which is not unusable hiding and -- -- that announcement. Are -- and we obviously that how a lot of good news today are there any signs that that the market could turn south at any point in the near future. -- there's a couple of things that investors are a little bit concerned about one and -- -- -- we have a story today Bloomberg News on insider sales data CEOs are selling acts -- stopped at the fastest pace and at 2009. That's not necessarily. -- good thing you'd like to see insiders hold on. To their holdings because it does show they have inside knowledge of how business is he kind of like to see them stay involved the fact that. CEOs are selling we have the S&P up roughly about 9% this year. Me tell you that the ACL. The teens -- need another catalyst to continue. That's one thing to be keep on your radar as potentially being cautious -- -- of course that we're paying attention to his trading volumes this year. There are no treating the audience near the lowest. At this point right now in terms of the three major US stock market averages. The lowest they've spent all year the lowest since roughly about 2008. That tells us that big institutions are not participating in this market -- -- the rally this year -- not be as solid or stellar as. Market technicians -- like now the other -- that we can't forget about there are still a lot of unresolved issues in you're up. -- even though Greece and -- progress last week we still have sort of some concern that perhaps some of those peripheral countries such as Portugal and Spain EB countering problems. Then of course -- -- Europe is potentially in a recession -- the magnitude and that's look at it can be mild. Maybe a little bit more severe than economists are predicting an I won't mention last week McDonald's came out and they actually -- about weakness they -- -- global sales predictions and numbers in Europe and Asia. -- a lot weaker than economists expect we're expecting that tells us that those regions perhaps for McDonald's a big global Bellwether. -- -- seen a slowdown to that could be impacting some of the sentiment and those weaker buying up our -- let's not forget oil prices of course as well. We've got a number of lawsuits that have made headlines this morning in the Internet space first Yahoo! is suing FaceBook over patents. What's the full story. And -- That's straight -- and this is that certainly gonna turn out to be an interest seen. Case if you will we do you see this in technology land -- -- and in what's funny is yap island based look our partners southeast looking mounts at you know a little disappointed that their partner. Is suing them assuming the company it's over patent infringement over. I advertising and help keep looking clinking get to certain areas are. -- get advertisers can target certain users this is something that will probably be -- In the courts for quite a long time don't forget -- Yahoo! -- a company in transition and they recently appointed -- new CEO we're hearing -- looking at some type of major restructuring Austin this could be potentially a little bit of a distraction for investors. FaceBook of course is prepare preparing for its IP and -- going to be the biggest of the -- -- wouldn't be too much into it it's. It's not uncommon to have to technology companies go after each other we've seen in the chips based quite frequently with Intel. I -- -- a number of its rivals south certainly -- to keep and I land but not necessarily anything to be too worried about at this point. Okay meanwhile FaceBook and Google are both getting sued in India -- what's the complaint against them there. -- it is certainly -- -- -- situation as well let me take a look at some of these foreign markets India has a certain way doing business and certain. Requirements if you well for foreign businesses. Do you mean business and the country so this is sort of surrounding that's situation as well these little bit hard to gauge for investors in -- here. A 100% familiar with the legal system in Indiana. Let's not forget -- -- these companies have very deep pockets it's in Google's best interest for example to work with the Indian government and that's probably what we're going to see. They had a similar situation -- and China that they actually managed to work through to some extent -- again these type of situations are not uncommon and they can be a little bit worrisome for investors but. -- I that would be confident that the two companies will likely -- progress because emerging markets are so important to these companies are doing the next area of growth. For pretty much all of these large technology companies sell. They'll get they'll get over this turn they'll work it out somehow anything else are going to be watching today Suzanne. I'm I am today out moment the -- we talked about the theme -- keep an -- today summon the airline stocks we have oil prices lower today at about one of by the barrel but there's a big airline conference in New York. We have a number of the airlines give me an update on business this morning we already heard from discount carrier southwest. They told investors that higher fuel prices means -- likely. May not have a first quarter profit so that's going to be it's not that kid potentially closed lower today to keep and I am -- the -- -- LEV love. Some airlines -- better than others southwest apparently did not have this situation in the first -- -- they're being impacted by higher fuel prices delta on the other hand. Told investors that business is intriguing enough. That they'll be able to actually cancel out that higher fuel costs still we have two different airlines to different strategies but it's again. It's how these airlines had higher fuel cost is very difficult to deal and sometimes actually -- get hurt on the other side. They can anticipate higher oil prices and oil prices -- will actually decline. A big big news from airlines sector coming from delta the bad news -- -- lesson keep an -- and that's airlines that's as likely to hear from other companies including -- live. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- OK before really egos at -- look at the Dow trading above the thirteen thousand mark in the first ten minutes of trading on the Dow Suzanne oh how -- from Bloomberg TV. Thanks Suzanne. Thanks had a great day -- it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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