NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors cheered the positive news out of the retail sector this morning.
Mad Money research director Nicole Urken looked at the results and TheStreet's Joe Deaux spoke to Putri Pascualy, credit strategist at Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company, about today's release of the Federal Reserve Federal Open Markets Committee's minutes.
Urken reported that retail sales for the month of October improved to 0.4%, beating analysts' estimates of 0.1%, as well as last month's reading of -0.1%.
J.C. Penney (JCP) is up roughly 10% after proving to be sufficiently liquid and providing positive views going forward.Despite missing on the top and bottom lines, comps were positive last month and gross margins seem to have "bottomed," Urken said. With $2 billion in liquidity, it would appear as though the company does not have to raise capital. Turning to the Fed, Pascualy said the central bank is trying to show more clarity in its reports, suggesting that there shouldn't be any big surprises this afternoon, when the minutes are released. She added that most market participants are looking for tapering to begin in March of 2014, while economists will be focusing on two important factors: when tapering will begin and how much will be tapered. The Fed has indicated that interest rates will remain low for some time, which will drive investors to search for yield while attempting to minimize rising interest rate risk, she said. Pascualy concluded that investors will likely go after short-duration bonds and high-quality corporations, as well as focus on floating rate assets to minimize the risk of spiking rates. -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. Follow @BretKenwell