April 14, 2017
Friday's economic data are very weak and point to a slow first quarter. Retail sales fell 0.2 percent in March with February revised a sharp 4 tenths lower to minus 0.3 percent. Most components show declines especially motor vehicles for a 3rd straight month and restaurants for a 2nd straight month. In another unexpected result, consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in March with the core rate also negative, at minus 0.1 percent.
Today's news points to slow growth with little inflation, a combination that should push back expectations for Federal Reserve rate hikes. The government remains open today but not the financial markets which are closed for Good Friday.