Thursday May 12th


S&P, Nasdaq futures try for gains after retail sales beat

U.S. stock index futures came off session lows Friday after April retail sales rose 1.3 percent, topping expectations. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales shot up 0.9 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in March, Reuters said. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures attempted gains, while Dow futures pared earlier losses of more than 60 points to trade about 20 points lower as of 8:42 a.m. ET. Stock index futures still implied a flat to slightly lower open. In other economic news, the producer price index rose 0.2 percent in April after falling 0.1 percent in March, Reuters said. In the 12 months through April, the PPI was unchanged after dipping 0.1 percent in March. A key measure of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food, energy and trade services rose 0.3 percent last month after being unchanged in March. The so-called core PPI was up 0.9 percent in the 12 months through April after a similar increase in March. Shorter-end Treasury yields extended earlier gains, with the 2-year yield last around 0.77 percent while the 10-year yield held steady around 1.73 percent. The U.S. dollar index extended gains to trade about half a percent higher, with the euro near $1.131 and the yen at 109.3 yen against the greenback as of 8:36 a.m. ET. Consumer sentiment and business inventories are due at 10 a.m. The retail earnings train wreck continued after Thursday's closing bell, with misses from Nordstrom and Dillard's on both the top and bottom lines. They join a list of retailers, including Macy's, in reporting disappointing earnings and a malaise among shoppers. On the earnings front, J.C. Penney reported mixed quarterly results. Oil prices traded more than 1 percent lower early Friday morning, with WTI just above $46 a barrel and brent around $47.50 a barrel. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down by around half a percent on Friday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 1.41 percent lower on Friday, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 0.30 percent lower. Gold rose on Friday as European equities fell, but further gains were curtailed by a stronger dollar, backed by anticipation of an improvement in the U.S. economy. The market is awaiting U.S. retail sales at 1230 GMT for clues on the strength of the economy. Spot gold rose to a session high of $1,276.20 an ounce and was up 0.9 percent at $1,275.40, after dropping 1.1 percent on Thursday. However, it is still down 1 percent so far for the week, the most since the week ended March 25. U.S. gold for June delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1,276.90 an ounce.