The U.S. has just released Retail Sales report for March. The report indicated that Retail Sales increased by 9.8% month-over-month compared to analyst consensus which called for growth of 5.9%. Excluding Autos, Retail Sales grew by 8.4% compared to analyst consensus of 5%.
The Retail Sales report was much stronger than expected and showed that the new round of economic stimulus provided significant support to consumer activity. Not surprisingly, S&P 500 futures are moving higher in premarket trading.
Initial Jobless Claims Decline To 576,000
The U.S. has also released Initial Jobless Claims and Continuing Jobless Claims reports. Initial Jobless Claims report showed that 576,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in a week compared to analyst consensus of 700,000. Continuing Jobless Claims remained flat at 3.73 million.
Initial Jobless Claims report was stronger than expected, and it may provide more support to the market. At this point, it looks that the huge stimulus package has already boosted the U.S. economy, and the near-term economic outlook is certainly positive.
Today, traders will also have a chance to take a look at Industrial Production and Manufacturing Production reports. Analysts expect that Industrial Production increased by 2.8% month-over-month in March while Manufacturing Production grew by 4%.
Oil Takes A Pause After Yesterday’s Strong Upside Move
Yesterday, WTI oil gained strong upside momentum after EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed that crude inventories declined by 5.9 million barrels. According to the report, gasoline inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels while distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2.1 million barrels.
The U.S. domestic oil production increased from 10.9 million barrels per day (bpd) to 11 million bpd but remained at levels which are comfortable for the market. Gasoline demand increased from 8.78 million bpd to 8.94 million bpd which served as an additional bullish catalyst for the oil market.
WTI oil has recently made an attempt to settle above the $63 level but failed to develop sufficient upside momentum. A move above this level will signal that WTI oil is ready to continue its uspide move which will be bullish for oil-related equities.