U.S. stocks are moving up as retail sales for January were higher than expected.
The Department of Commerce reported that retail sales were $449.9 billion for an increase of 0.2 percent versus the expected 0.1 percent. December’s sales were revised higher to an increase of 0.2 percent from the previously reported 0.1 percent.
Clothing-store sales rose 0.2 percent over December and 2.2 percent over January 2015. However, cars and food categories continue to lead the growth in consumer spending.
The S&P 500 is up by 17 points to 1,846, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 124 points to 15,786 and the Nasdaq is higher by 37 points to 4,305. The S&P Retail ETF is up by 29 cents to $38.68.
Columbia Sportswear stock popped by 14 percent to $54.75 after the company delivered a solid quarter, beating analysts’ estimates on both earnings and sales. The apparel company reported that net income increased 14 percent to a record $63.4 million, or 90 cents a diluted share, and easily beat the FactSet earnings estimate of 75 cents per. Fourth-quarter net sales also increased 3 percent to $699.4 million and beat the FactSet estimate for sales of $685 million and topped last year’s net sales of $677 million. U.S. net sales grew, while sales in other regions declined.
Flash-sale site Groupon surprised investors with higher than expected quarterly profits and strong sales. The company left 19 markets around the world to focus on North America and as a result gross billings rose 10.7 percent in the region. The number of active users increased 3 percent and Groupon has focused on getting out of low margin businesses like consumer electronics. The stock is jumping over 25 percent to $2.80.
Visa took a 10 percent stake in the mobile payment company Square. Visa has been working on a similar product where customers can just wave the card over a terminal to record a payment. Square stock jumped over 9 percent to $9.42.
Lane Bryant said it is going to be a marketing partner for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for 2016. Model Ashley Graham will make her debut in the magazine’s sexy issue, known for mostly thin girls. It is part of Lane Bryant’s The Body campaign. The issue will mark the beginning of a partnership between the store and the magazine. Ascena Brands owns Lane Bryant and the stock is rising by 2 percent to $6.63.
In other markets, China remains closed while Japan’s Nikkei dropped 4.8 percent and closed down 11.1 percent for the week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.2 percent, but ended its shortened week by losing 5 percent.
Europe’s markets are all higher after the eurozone fourth-quarter GDP came in at an increase of 0.3 percent quarter-over-quarter as expected and up 1.5 percent year-over-year as expected. While nothing has changed for the banks, they are mostly higher, leading the French CAC up by 1.9 percent and the German DAX up by 2.2 percent.
U.S. markets will be closed on Monday to celebrate the Presidents’ Day holiday. However, China will be opening for the first time in a week and that has traders unwilling to end Friday with any risk on the table.