Now, that would be fine if we are all expecting that the Fed will keep rates low. But the huge increase in interest rates, at least on a percentage basis, is happening just at the wrong time. Plus there are all of these jabbering Fed heads who are thinking the Fed is too easy. When you combine higher rates with less business, that's a recipe for lower stock prices.
Now it wasn't all bad. We had a hard-goods retailer, Conn's (CONN), report good numbers. It sells all sorts of goods for the home, including appliances and consumer electronics. Normally that would be an important offset to Vera Bradley, Francesca's and Ascena. However, Conn's is a regional player, and the region is the Texas area, which happens to be in the middle of an oil boom. So I take its strength with a grain of salt.
Therefore, when I put it all together, I come back with a mixed retail picture at a time when I expected an improving picture. That, unfortunately, dovetails with the potential for a weaker housing market, now that mortgage rates have gone over 4%.
Is it the end of the world? Nope. But do these numbers embolden me to think the correction is over? No, not yet. And that's what gives me less confidence that things are going to improve for stocks, even though they've come down enough to embolden me to pick among some of the rubble.At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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