U.S. retail sales fell 8.7% in March, a record drop as the viral outbreak closed down thousands of stores and shoppers stayed home. This was worse than the 0.4 per cent gain in February. It’s the biggest monthly decline since the Commerce Department started keeping records in 1992.
The core retail sales dropped by 4.5% in March after falling by 0.4% in the previous month. Sales fell sharply across many categories: Auto sales dropped 25.6%, while clothing store sales collapsed, sliding 50.5%. While grocery store sales jumped by nearly 26% as Americans stocked up on food and consumer goods to ride out the pandemic.
Wall Street expected to open lower, U.S. stock futures trading lower in early pre-market trade and Dow jones futures already fell more than 700+ points ahead of market opening. The other main reason the futures are down Goldman Sachs and Bank of America reported lower earnings.
Bank of America reported Wednesday a profit for the first quarter that plunged from last year. The bank reported net income of $4 billion, or 40 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2020. Revenue for the quarter came to $22.8 billion, as compared to $23 billion a year ago.
Goldman Sachs reported on Wednesday $3.11 earnings per common share in the first quarter. The company’s net revenues in the first quarter were $8.74 b.