Markets Post Weekly Gain Despite Retail Slowdown
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks posted their 12th weekly gain of 2013 compared to three weekly declines as the S&P 500 closed near its all-time high, propelled by record corporate profits and the Federal Reserve's asset-buying stimulus program.
The S&P retreated from its record high Friday after a pair of consumer reports dampened optimism about consumer strength amid renewed eurozone jitters even as the U.S. bellwether index advanced 2.3% for the week to 1,588.85.
"Stocks have more than doubled off the bottom, many investors have made a year's worth of returns in the last three months, and despite lackluster U.S. economic data and troublesome rumblings from Europe, U.S. stocks basically just go up," noted Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group in New York.
Nonetheless, investor sentiment was tempered by data showing that the impact of the recession, most prominently in the form of joblessness, continues to weigh heavily on U.S. consumers.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in at a preliminary read of 72.3 for April, down from 78.6 in the final reading for March and below the print of 78.5 expected by economists, on average, according to Thomson Reuters.
Retail sales fell by 0.4% in March compared to February sales on an adjusted basis, to $418.3 billion, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.
"Overall, this report adds to the emerging narrative of a sharper and earlier slowdown in economic activity than is currently being factored into the market expectation," Millan Mulraine, a senior economist at TD Securities in New York, wrote in a note.
Wells Fargo was dropping 0.8% to $37.21 on falling interest margins and declining mortgage banking revenue . The country's fourth largest bank by assets posted net income for the first quarter that did beat analyst estimates.
JPMorgan Chase fell 0.6% to $49.01 after reporting that revenue for the first quarter was $25.85 billion, down 3% year-over-year. The bank's first quarter profit rose 33% year-over-year on the back of higher revenues and improved credit quality in its consumer banking business.