walmart empty parking lot

Photo: kelly zen / Flickr

Bloomberg said they obtained a pretty bearish email from the execs at Walmart.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,981, +8.3, +0.0 per cent
S&P 500: 1,519, -1.5, -0.1 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,192, -6.6, -0.2 per cent

And now the top stories:

  • Bloomberg reported today that emails exchanged by Walmart executives suggested that February sales so far are a “total disaster.”  Blaming the recent payroll tax hike, among other things, at least one exec reportedly wrote that this was the “worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
  • Perhaps the Walmart news was Walmart-specific, and its customers are just going elsewhere.  According to the University of Michigan/Reuters, consumer confidence jumped to 76.3 from last month’s 73.8 reading.  This was above expectations for a reading of 74.8.
  • In economic news, the Empire Fed Manufacturing Survey surged to 10.0 in February.  Economists were looking for a reading of -2.00.  “The new orders index also rose sharply, climbing 20 points to 13.3, and the shipments index increased to 13.1.”  Perhaps the northeast is experiencing a post-Sandy pick-up.
  • Industrial production unexpectedly contracted by 0.1 per cent in January.  Economists had forecast a gain of 0.2 per cent.  Consumer durables decreased 2.0 per cent, but consumer nondurables climbed 0.4 per cent.
  • It’s worth noting that gold fell below $1,600 for the first time in six months.  The move came on no obvious news.  However, G20 leaders are meeting in Russia.  The hot topic is expected to be currency wars, or the risk that global central banks will compete to devalue their currencies.  Gold traders may be expecting a more hawkish tone from the attendees.
  • Don’t Miss: Central Banks Bought More Gold In February — Here Are The 10 Biggest Reserves >
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