Events of the day no longer matter, as we are clearly in the final stages of a global financial catastrophe, one which few will see coming, though signs of malaise and deconstruction are everywhere.
On the day, March retail sales were reported to be off by 0.3%, that being a negative, as opposed to a positive, which was expected. Despite the obvious collapse of the consumer pocketbook, stocks disregarded the data - as per usual - and marched higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average arching towards the magic 18,000 mark, a number that has not been seen on Wall Street or anywhere since mid-July of last year.
PPI, an inaccurate guide to wholesale inflation, fell 0.1%, on expectations of a rise of 0.3%, another blow to the Fed's inflation targeting of two percent, and yet another arrow in the quiver of the punchy speculators who view all bad economic news as good.
Business inventories for February also fell, by 0.1%, a result of over-ramping holiday buying without the resultant sales. Businesses find themselves largely overstocked, and have no need to build inventories, especially at a time in which the global economy is either not growing at all or actually contracting.
Meanwhile, anecdotal reports of falling food prices are rafting throughout the US economy. One consumer reported a dozen eggs at $1.50, when they were $3.00 or more just six months ago, due largely to a 2015 bird flu which decimated the nation's chicken population.
Therein lies the conundrum: with gas prices low, food prices falling, consumers are still finding difficulty opening their wallets and spending. Primary culprits include excessive taxation, health care (Obamacare), college tuition, and high housing costs, be they either renting or owning, and, since making ends meet via interest on savings has become a relic of a bygone era, people are also paying down debt.
It doesn't matter to Wall Street. Main Street could shrivel up and die - which, in many smaller cities it already has - and stocks would still enjoy the speculative splendor of negligible interest rates.
Splurge, baby, splurge.
DJIA: 17,908.28, +187.03
S&P 500: 2,082.42, +20.70
NASDAQ: 4,947.42, +75.33
Crude Oil 41.55 -1.47% Gold 1,244.10 -1.33% EUR/USD 1.1277 -0.95% 10-Yr Bond 1.76 -1.07% Corn 373.75 +3.03% Copper 2.17 +1.14% Silver 16.24 +0.08% Natural Gas 2.04 +1.80% Russell 2000 1,129.93 +2.19% VIX 13.84 -6.80% BATS 1000 20,682.61 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4206 -0.43% USD/JPY 109.3075 +0.67%