Equities grind higher. The S&P 500 Index is tracking toward another weekly gain, following last week’s more than 3% advance. We see technical support for the S&P 500 at the 50-day moving average (about 4% below current levels) as well as the 3030 level, but the technicals of other key markets need watching as well. Copper, oil, and the 10-year Treasury yield are all holding above their respective 2019 lows so far, a positive message for global growth if they can continue.
Retail sales sluggish. Retail sales rose 0.3% in January, in line with expectations, but December’s number was revised slightly lower to 0.2% from 0.3%. Under the surface, sales at clothing stores saw the biggest decline since 2009, and core retail sales (excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials, and food services) were unchanged last month. December core retail sales was revised to a gain of only 0.2% from 0.5%.
Green on Valentine’s Day. Stocks opened in the green on Valentine’s Day, following the lead of Asia and Europe. China reported another 5,000 new cases of coronavirus, with the majority of the new cases coming from the Hubei province, where change in diagnostic testing has driven a surge in cases recently. On the positive side, the World Health Organization said there has been no major change in trajectory of the outbreak.
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