Amid weak consumer spending data that also missed Wall Street estimates, the market is experiencing a wobbly day of trading.
But retail stocks leapt out of the gate as shares of Amazon soared following robust quarterly results after market yesterday. At the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 percent to 17,783 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent to 2,073. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group index rose 2.2 percent to 1,281.
At the bell, the decliners included: Columbia Sportswear Co. with a 3.5 percent drop to $58.05; Nordstrom Inc. with a 2.5 percent drop to $51.39, and Bon-Ton Stores Inc. with a 1.6 percent decline to $2.40. Top advancers included: Avon Products Inc., which rose 2.4 percent to $4.76; Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. with a 4.2 percent increase to $41, and Amazon.com Inc. with a 10.1 percent gain to $662.95.
Amazon’s results blew past analyst estimates. However, traders are also weighing the latest consumer spending data. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income increased 0.4 percent in March to $57.4 billion while disposable personal income rose 0.4 percent to $50.4 billion. Personal consumption expenditures, though, rose 0.1 percent $12.8 billion — below what economics and analysts were expecting.
In a separate report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compensation outlays for private industry workers showed a 1.8 percent gain for the 12-month period while wages and salaries gained 2 percent. Meanwhile, the BLS said employer costs for employee health benefits rose 3.3 percent for the 12-month period.
Regarding the overall economic outlook, Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insights, told clients that over the past six years weak first-quarter conditions were “followed by stronger growth in subsequent quarters.”
“This year is likely to see a similar pattern,”Behravesh said. “IHS Global Insight believes that the recent pullback by consumers is temporary and growth of around 3 percent during the rest of the year is likely. Similarly, we expect that business fixed investment will show some positive growth in the second quarter, as rising oil prices bring an end to the energy sector rout and as diminished financial sector stress gives businesses more confidence.”