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Retail sales data has market looking lower

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Stock futures were higher before this morning's retail sales numbers were released at 08:30 EST, but since their release, futures have turned decidedly lower. In February, retail sales rose a modest 0.3%, which was below economist's expectations of 0.8%. Excluding automobile sales, retail sales rose 0.2%, which was also below consensus looking for a 0.5% rise.

Sales at auto dealerships rose 0.4% in February after falling 4.6% in January.

The Commerce Department said sales at gasoline stations were flat last month as fuel prices fell at the pump. Sales fell marginally at building stores, department stores and grocery stores. General merchandise stores saw sales increase modestly in February and restaurant sales were higher.

Stock futures are trading lower as S&P futures trade down 4.6 points at 1,164. NASDAQ futures are down 24 points at 1,510 and Dow futures are lower by 52 points at 10,605.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $2.79. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $4.01 and set for selling at $1.57. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $9.53.

Computer Associates plans offering

Computer Associates (NYSE:CA) $19.53 said it plans to offer $500 million in convertible notes. The company said proceeds will be used to refinance existing indebtedness and for general purposes.

Comverse Tech lower after guidance

Shares of Comverse Technology (NASDAQ:CMVT) $15.85 are trading down 24% in the pre-market at $12 after the company reported earnings that were inline with expectations, but warned analysts that next quarter's earnings and revenues would be below expectations.

Amgen higher

Shares of Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) $59.95 are edging higher in pre- market trading at $60.25 after the biotech giant said it received European Commission approval for it rheumatoid arthritis drug Kineret.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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