Consumer turnaround?

Month-over-month retail sales data was surprisingly good, but it's too soon to call it a comeback.

Robert Johnson, CFA 23 November, 2013 | 7:00PM

Markets this week were little changed, with stocks basically flat and interest rates slightly higher. Even European and emerging markets made little net progress.

Corporate earnings news continued to disappoint: This week it was   Campbell's Soup  CPB,  Target  TGT,   Dollar Tree  DLTR and   Abercrombie & Fitch  ANF. In fairness, there were some very good reports, too, such as   Home Depot  HD and   Deere & Co  DE.

The Fed checked in this week too, with minutes seeming to indicate that tapering was still on the table for December. There also remains a significant portion of the Fed that thinks that bond and mortgage purchases should be slowed under almost any conditions. That news seemed to bother the bond market a little more than the stock market. I am going to stay out of the day-to-day guessing game on timing, but tapering is coming. It's just impossible to pinpoint a day. However, my guess is that we will see a meaningful cutting in the bond- and mortgage-buying programs over the next six months.

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Robert Johnson, CFA

Robert Johnson, CFA  Robert Johnson, CFA, is director of economic analysis for Morningstar.

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