Mixed day for the accelerated-bull thesis. We were hoping that May was going to be a weaker month. We had weak data from the auto group -- they have inventory build -- and we have had some cessation in the housing market. But today we received a preliminary snapshot indicating that core retail store sales held up. In fact, May turned out to be a pretty good chain-store month, excepting Costco (COST) - Get Report. And the consumer confidence figures were too upbeat for the Fed's good.
In a world where we are looking for slowing data from stores across the board, we didn't get it today. Remember the dilemma we face. If we are to jump-start
the 1994 track, we need to see consistent slower sales from in everything, from stores to cars.
(In 1994, we had the same mixed signals right about now, which delayed the last-Fed-tightening rally that we were all waiting for. I was hoping, bullishly, for weaker data than we got so we could short-circuit things and begin a sustained rally sooner than we had in '94.)
The May snapshot we saw today from retailers around the country was supportive of still more hikes. The no-more-hikes crowd, which was gaining some credence, was set back from this data. The at-least-one-more-hike-camp gained more credence. Just like in 1994. We are still very much on that year's roadmap.
Trying to make sense of this allergy season. Drugstores say that sales are strong because of allergies. But drug analysts are hinting that it is not a strong Claritin season -- the key driver of
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