The poor sales numbers are part of an ongoing sluggish trend. Recent manufacturing and labor reports provide further evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing.
Retail sales dropped for a third consecutive month, a troubling sign that consumer confidence and spending is not rising--even with lower gas prices. This is the first time retail sales have fallen for three straight months since the fourth quarter of 2008.
Many investors are hoping that every new economic indicator that leans toward "Recession 2013" will make the Federal Reserve more likely to provide more quantitative easing. Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies twice this week before Congress in his semiannual monetary report.
Any message or indication that QE3 is coming will most likely send the markets into rally mode.
Leading off today's earnings was Citigroup (NYSE: C).
Before the bell, Citi reported better than expected earnings even though revenue and income fell from the prior year. The bank reported a 12% decline in earnings to 95 cents a share but that was better than the 89 cents a share analysts had expected.
Citi's earnings follow the strong reports issued Friday from fellow financials Wells Fargo (NSYE: WFC) and JP Morgan Chase (NSYE: JPM).
Shares of Citigroup stock were up over 1% in early trading.
Citigroup is the first company to report earnings in what will be a major earnings week with many industry leaders reporting.
As a whole, earnings are expected to continue the negative trend the economy is on. However, with the bar now set much lower there might be a few surprises in the mix.
Besides Citi here are two other companies in the news today.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NSYE ADR: GSK) has reached an agreement with Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI) to purchase the Rockville, MD based biopharmaceutical company.
After a three month chase, Glaxo finally won Human Genome over by increasing its cash offer to $14.25 per share, up from $13 a share.
Shares of Human Genome rose 98% on April 19 when the Glaxo offer first went public and have since stayed in the $13-$14 range. Even though Glaxo has agreed to pay such a high premium from where the stock was trading many think Glaxo is the winner in this deal.
The British based GSK will acquire 100 percent of Benlysta which is used to treat lupus, a disease of the immune system, as well as full ownership of experimental medicines for diabetes and heart disease that are in late-stage development.
Today was also the last day Human Genome would accept bids but the company did not receive much competition since Glaxo already controls the marketing rights to its drugs.
Many analysts thought that Human Genome could attract an offering valued in the mid-to-upper teens.
"I'm disappointed with the deal because I think Benlysta is actually going to be a good drug," Carol Werther, an analyst at Summer Street Research told Reuters. "Glaxo wanted to get this on the cheap and they were able to do it in the absence of other bidders."
Shares of GSK are up almost 1% and HGSI stock is up over 4.5% as of noon.
The Dow Jones today was down 35 points, or 0.29%, and the S&P 500 was down 2.32 points, or 0.16%, as of noon.
On Tuesday Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) report earnings. By Wednesday all eyes will be focused on financial giant Bank of America (NSYE: BAC) as it reports what are expected to be strong second quarter numbers.
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