Retail sales rose one-half of 1% in March, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday, climbing for the third consecutive month as prices continued to increase, and the consumer price index measure of inflation soared in March to a 12-month rate of 8.5% -- the highest inflation rate in 40 years.
However, there are signs that inflation is probably peaking. While gasoline continues to fuel the worst round of inflation in decades, price hikes for other goods, including electronics and used cars, have started to stabilize.
The risk of inflation continuing remained the main threat to the stock market. With a ban on buying Russian oil being planned by the European Union, it is likely high oil prices worldwide will continue for the foreseeable future.
In a holiday shortened week – Wall Street was closed Friday for Good Friday -- the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closed the week at 4,392.59. The index lost -1.21% from Wednesday and is down -2.15% from last week. The index is up +65.01% from the March 23, 2020, bear market low.