Consumer spending rose in March, but only because there wasn’t much choice. Soaring prices for gas, food and everyday necessities meant bigger totals at the register. Spending rose 0.4%, almost double what economists were forecasting, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press.
CVS Caremark (CVS) reported its first-quarter earnings that were in line with analysts’ expectations, reports Christie Rizk for Thomson Financial. Same-store sales rose 3.9% from a year earlier. Perhaps sales growth owes much to spending on the necessities the drugstore chain keeps in stock.
Home Depot (HD), on the other hand, announced that it’s closing 15 stores and pulling back on 50 new store openings, reports Mary Ellen Lloyd for Dow Jones Newswires. The moves are part of Home Depot’s efforts to mount a turnaround that includes improving customer service, in the hopes that when a rebound occurs it will be in a position to take advantage. Shares were up midday.
ETFs that count CVS and Home Depot and major holdings were up higher midday, too:
- Retail HOLDRs (RTH): CVS 6.3%; Home Depot 11.8%; up 3.4% year-to-date
- SPDR S&P Retail (XRT): CVS 2.0%; down 1.5% year-to-date
- Vanguard Consumer Staples (VDC): CVS 4.2%; down 3% year-to-date
For full disclosure, some of Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of RTH.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.