Good news out of China and Europe sent U.S. stocks higher this morning.
China’s trade data jumped 11.5 percent in March over last year and beat expectations. This caused all the Asian markets to close in positive territory. In Europe, optimism over an Italian bank bailout caused all the European markets to move higher.
U.S. stocks followed along with the S&P 500 up 13 points to 2,075, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 132 points to 17,854 and the Nasdaq moved higher by 47 points to 4,919. The S&P Retail ETF is higher by 47 cents to sell at $44.58.
U.S. retail sales were lower in March than economists expected, as reported by the Commerce Department this morning. Retail sales came in at $446.9 billion, a drop of 0.3 percent from February. Economists had been forecasting an increase of 0.1 percent. Clothing sales dropped 0.9 percent in March from February. Clothing sales for the last three months increased 2.7 percent over the same period for 2015. Retail trade sales were down 0.2 percent from February and up 1.3 percent from last year.
In other economic news, the producer price index fell 0.1 percent in March and final demand prices dropped 0.2 percent. In final demand goods, women’s apparel prices increased 0.1 percent in March over February prices, while men’s and boys’ apparel was flat. Footwear prices increased 0.6 percent. In final demand services, apparel, jewelry, footwear and accessories retailing increased 1.8 percent.
Fitbit Inc. is climbing over 6 percent to $16 after Citigroup analyst Stanley Kovler said that the fitness tracker will probably beat their estimates. The analyst reiterated his buy rating and gives the stock a $30 price target. “We believe the encouraging initial Alta/Blaze sales and improving App rankings support our view that FIT’s CY16 rev guidance may prove conservative and expect upside to Q1 guide and positive Q2 outlook to propel shares off recent lows,” Kovler wrote in his report.
Shopify Inc. has acquired Kit CRM Inc. for an undisclosed amount as the company moves to develop more conversational commerce. Shopify is a cloud-based commerce platform that specializes in small to medium-sized online retailers. Kit CRM is a virtual marketing assistant that leverages messaging to for online marketing. The combination of the two comes at a time of more marketing through the Facebook Messenger app. Shopify stock is up 33 cents to trade at $30.10.