by Dan Zalipski, CFA
March retail sales surged 9.8% compared to the prior month, easily beating forecasts that averaged 6.1%. The upside surprise is attributed to the stimulus cash consumers received earlier in the year. In addition, the weekly jobless claims for the week ending April 10th dipped below 600,000 for the first time since the pandemic’s onset. Delta Airlines announced that bookings in March had doubled compared to January. With the vaccinated population increasing every day, the U.S. is eager to see an end to the social distancing recession, followed by an impressive restart of the service-sector businesses, leisure, and travel. The months ahead will clarify the extent of the recovery, what it may mean for ongoing fiscal support, and the potential impacts on the markets.