Retail sales, consumer sentiment, coronavirus update: 3 things to watch for Friday

Shoppers browse through clothing at a Forever 21 fashion retail store at the King of Prussia mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, September 30, 2019.

Mark Makela | Reuters

Here’s what investors need to know about Friday before you hit the door.

Retail sales

The Census Bureau will release its retail sales data for January on Friday morning, giving investors a closer look at what has been the strongest part of the United States economy.

Wall Street expects to see a month-over-month increase of 0.3%, according to Dow Jones, the same as in December. The latest report showed sales of general merchandise rising but auto sales declining, with total retail sales of $529.6 billion.

The consumer and retail section of the economy has been fueling economic growth in U.S. in recent years as tariffs and sluggish global growth have weighed on the manufacturing sector.

Consumer sentiment

The University of Michigan will release its preliminary sentiment reading for February just after the bell opens. Economists expect a reading of 99.5, according to Dow Jones.

Consumer sentiment was at 99.8 in January, beating expectations and showing a slight uptick from December.

The reading comes a week after the jobs report for January showed a greater than expected number of jobs added to the economy.

The consumer sentiment index has not been at 100 or higher since last May.

Coronavirus watch

The latest update from Chinese officials on the coronavirus will be heavily scrutinized by investors. After several days of reports that showed the spread of the outbreak seemingly slowing, China reported an increase of more than 14,000 confirmed cases on Thursday morning.

The increase was largely due to a change in how the government counted cases using a new method to diagnose patients, Chinese officials said.

The total number of confirmed cases around the world is now more than 60,000 but researchers and governmental officials have expressed skepticism that the number is accurate. A senior U.S. administration official told CNBC on Thursday that the U.S. does “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China.”

Major events (all times Eastern):

2: 00 a.m. Germany flash GDP

5: 00 a.m. Euro Zone flash GDP

8: 30 a.m. Retail sales

8: 30 a.m. Import prices

9: 15 a.m. Industrial production

10: 00 a.m. Consumer sentiment

10: 00 a.m. Business inventories

Major earnings:

AztraZeneca (before the bell)

Newell Brands (before the bell)

Canopy Growth (before the bell)

MGM Growth Properties (before the bell)

Yandex (before the bell)

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