Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



IBM Leads the Dow on Strong Retail Sales

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up slightly following a better-than-expected retail sales report. As of 1:15 p.m. EDT the Dow was up 7 points, or 0.05%, to 14,475. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up 0.15% to 1,555.

There were three U.S. economic releases today.





Retail sales




Retail sales excluding-automobiles




Import price index








Source: MarketWatch U.S. Economic Calendar.

The one to pay attention to is the retail sales report from the Department of Commerce, which showed that retail sales rose at their fastest monthly rate in five months, up 1.1% from January to a seasonally adjusted $421.4 billion. Year over year, retail sales were up 4.6%. Retails sales are an especially important metric to watch, as consumer spending makes up 70% of the U.S. economy. Economists had been expecting a gain of only 0.7% as the increased payroll tax and rising gasoline prices ate into consumers' wallets.

US Retail and Food Services Sales Chart

US Retail and Food Services Sales data by YCharts.

Spending at grocery stores rose 0.7%, while spending at restaurants fell 0.7%, indicating that consumers are eating at home more. Consumers also spent less money at department stores, on home furnishings, on electronics, and on appliances. Consumers did not slow spending on their cars, however: Automobile sales rose 1.1% in February, showing continued strength for the time being. Spending at gasoline stations rose 5%, reflecting February's higher gasoline prices. Except in California, gasoline prices have not crossed the psychologically significant $4 level at which you start to see consumers trying to limit their gasoline purchases.

For the time being, the economy is chugging along slowly. It remains to be seen whether this can continue with consumers cutting back spending in every area but automobiles.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , up 0.6% to $211.97 on no real news. IBM was recently ranked No. 24 on The Motley Fool's list of the 25 Best Companies in America; you can read more about what makes IBM one of America's best companies. While IBM's growth has been slowing, there's a lot to like about the company, including its expanding IT products and services businesses. IBM also pays a steady dividend with a trailing yield of 1.6%. The company raised its dividend in each of the past 17 years and could raise it again this year.

If you're looking for some long-term dividend investing ideas, check out the Fool's special report: "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." It's absolutely free, so just click here and get your copy today.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2310597, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/25/2016 10:30:05 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,261.45 -131.01 -0.71%
S&P 500 2,164.69 -12.49 -0.57%
NASD 5,305.75 -33.78 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/23/2016 4:55 PM
^DJI $18261.45 Down -131.01 -0.71%
IBM $154.98 Down -1.13 -0.72%
IBM CAPS Rating: ****
^GSPC $2164.69 Down -12.49 -0.57%
S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars