March Retail Sales beat expectations (.8% vs .3% consensus) including ex-Autos and Gasoline (.7% vs .5% consensus). Overall Retail Sales were lower than February's revised 1% gain. Most strength was in building materials and garden equipment. Other areas with lesser strength were in furniture and home furnishings. It's logical with the onset of spring to see higher spending in the leading categories.
With consumer spending believed to be driving 70% of economic growth, a strong showing in Retail Sales is important to gauge the overall strength of the economy.
As of the opening on Monday April 16th, the Retail Sales data has encouraged bulls to push market prices higher overall. This is especially true given consumer spending vitality in the U.S.