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It’s Tax Day, and while Treasury delayed the deadline for this year, it’s still looking like a taxing day for financial markets as equity futures are indicated to fall over 1% and crude oil is below $20 at its lowest level since early 2002.
We finally got some economic data for this week, and while expectations were already low, the data was even worse. Retail Sales fell 8.7% in March versus expectations for a decline of 8.0%. That was a March number. For April, we got the Empire Manufacturing report, and that was an absolute disaster. Economists were forecasting the headline index to come in at -35.0, which would have been the worst reading in its history dating back to 2001. The actual result was more than twice as bad, though, coming in at a level of -78.2. As negative as that reading is, it’s to be expected when you have a complete shutdown of the US economy.
Read today’s Bespoke Morning Lineup for a discussion of overnight market events in Asia and Europe, the drop in crude oil, details of the airline bailout, the latest major US earnings reports, trends and statistics of the COVID-19 outbreak, and other stock-specific news of note.
This morning’s Retail Sales report was even more interesting in the details which we will discuss more in a report later. But one trend that has completely reversed is that of “Eating In vs Eating Out”. After trending lower for years now, the share of total retail sales taking place at food and beverage stores spiked to 13.53%. Moving in completely the opposite direction, the share of sales at Bars and Restaurants plunged to 10.05%. If you think that was bad, though, keep in mind that the economy wasn’t shut down for all of March. Wait until the April numbers are released.