Stock Futures Turn Higher After Retail Sales Data


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures turned higher Wednesday after a better-than-expected government report on retail sales in February.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 4 points, or 17.94 points above fair value, at 14,390. Futures for S&P 500 were up 0.75 points, or 1.62 points above fair value, at 1,547.50. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 0.75 points, or 4.44 points above fair value, at 2,798.75.

The Census Bureau said Wednesday that retail sales increased 1.1% in February, more than the 0.5% rise economists were expecting. The prior month's data point was upwardly revised to 0.2%.

Excluding the auto component, retail sales rose 1%, exceeding expectations of a 0.5% increase. The prior month's figure was upwardly revised to 0.4%.

"Along with revisions to January's data, those fretting about the demise of the consumer as a result of increased taxes have almost no leg on which to stand," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at broker-dealer BTIG in New York. "That is not to say all is well, and individual companies from Wal-Mart to MasterCard are sending mixed signals, but the macro data shows a consumer that has taken tax increases in stride."

Major U.S. stock averages finished mixed Tuesday as investor enthusiasm ebbed following more than a week of record gains.

In his latest weekly investment commentary for clients, Russ Koesterich, the global chief investment strategist at BlackRock, said the magnitude of recent gains in the stock market is causing some indicators to "flash yellow."

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