Market Rallies After Consumer Spending Sees Biggest Gain in Nearly a Decade — But Shoe Stocks Still Mixed

Major benchmark stock indexes ended Monday in the green after the Commerce Department reported the biggest boost in consumer spending in nearly a decade.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumption across the United States in March jumped 0.9% — a marked improvement from the 0.1% in February and the upwardly revised 0.3% in January. It was the largest monthly increase since August 2009.

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.04% to 26,554.39 points, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite moved into unprecedented territory at market close. The former broke its intraday record to end the day with a gain of 0.11% to 2,943.03 points. The latter also posted an all-time high, climbing 0.19% to 8,161.85 points.

Despite the surge, major footwear stocks remained mixed. Nike Inc. was down 0.05% to about $88, while Caleres Inc. dropped 1.6% to $26.56 and VF Corp. dipped 0.03% to $94.50. On the other hand, Skechers USA Inc. rose 1.5% to $31.63, Designer Brands Inc. increased 3.2% to $22.19 and Under Armour Inc. grew 0.26% to $22.86. (The latter is set to report Q1 earnings before Thursday’s opening bell.)

Following a slowdown at the start of the year, last month’s figure signals some optimism for investors as the economy heads into the second quarter. The past few months have proved exacting for Wall Street, which saw a record-long, 35-day government shutdown coupled with fears of a global slowdown and tensions over trade talks between the U.S. and China, which are scheduled to resume this week.

The rise in consumer spending — which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity — was reported shortly after the government boasted the economy’s best start to the year since 2015. According to the BEA, the first-quarter gross domestic product expanded by 3.2%, surpassing estimates of 2.5%.

Investors are also keeping a close watch ahead of tomorrow’s key Federal Reserve meeting, where officials are expected to discuss monetary policy in an economy that’s currently producing low inflation. (The metric rose just 0.2% and grew only 1.5% over the past year, well below the central bank’s target.)

Watch FN’s interview with top shoe industry players.

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