The market keeps rolling because retail sales missed expectations, ratings agencies threatened to lower the US’s pristine AAA credit rating, consumer sentiment dropped, and Hannah Hilton remains retired from porn.  Makes perfect sense, like trying to borrow money while saying you are about to go bankrupt or wearing a power balance bracelet (and yes, that was sarcasm).

With the market closing with its 7th consecutive weekly gain on news and data that still seem mediocre at best, like a Whitney Tilson missive or a Seth Rogen film, Money McBags continues to scratch his head at all of the reverse-dip buying as the market seems to be more forward looking than a kid on spring break.  All Money McBags can think is that investors are looking to the year 2030 when all of the foreclosures will finally have worked their way through the system, unemployment might finally be below 5% (and hopefully not just from the “Fuck You” strategy of purposely discouraging workers in order to bring the labor force participation rate down), and NFLX will be delivering food, drinks, and rusty trombones to you at the touch of a button in order to finally justify their valuation.  But fuck common sense as the market remains nuttier than Vincent McCrudden so lets look at the actual data released today.

First off, retail sales were lower than expected coming in at .6% growth vs. guesses of a .8% gain which was a whopping a 25% difference (and see how by saying a 25% difference rather than just a .2% difference, Money McBags can use numbers to manipulate his message as if he were a real journalist?).  It was the sixth consecutive month that retail sales rose but this time it was driven by non-core spending such as on gasoline and that fancy printer paper in order to send out more fucking resumes (speaking of which, should anyone be looking to hire, Money McBags would be happy to perform stock analysis, or simply at bar mitzvahs, for the right price).  While the number was somewhat disappointing, analysts simply blamed that disappointment on snow storms and the existence of so many fucking poor people.

In addition to retail sales, consumer sentiment fell thanks to rising gas prices (which is good for both OPEC and Will the Farter) and reality.  Overall consumer sentiment slipped to 72.7 which was below the 74.5 in December and even more below the 75.4 guessed at by economists.  But here is the stat that Money McBags likes best (other than 32-24-34 with no gag reflex), of the 72 analysts polled by Bloomberg, not one had a guess below 73 which once again shows that analyst models are outdated (since they rely on historical data and not data for a ponzeconomy) and are less reliable than Tom Delay‘s campaign financing or Antonio Cromartie’s birth control techniques (which Money McBags thinks involves crossing his fingers and hoping for the best, or the breast).

Other macro news included the CPI which was up .5% and was the biggest increase since June 2009 thanks to the aforementioned 8.5% gain in the gas prices but luckily the (No) Labor Department strips that out and just shows a .1% core inflation increase which means inflation is tamer than a Vegas show tiger (though maybe not this one), unless you want to buy food or drive anywhere.  Finally, business inventories grew less than expected as they were up just 0.2% which was below analyst guesses and this lack of growth may have a negative effect on GDP like AOL had a negative effect on Time Warner or Mister Brainwash had a negative effect on street art.

Internationally, China raised the loan reserves that banks are required to hold, from 19% to a record high 19.5%, as a way to protect against inflation and make sure banks don’t spend all of their renminbi in one place.  The idea is that by requiring banks to keep more money with the central bank, excess money will flow out of the economy and in to central bankers’ wallets, or dampen inflation, potato-potahto.  With China’s rapid growth and with food prices rising faster than Paris Hilton’s skirt on a Friday night, the government needs to try to control the asset bubbles or else people won’t even be able to afford capsules on their once every ten year vacations.

In the market, INTC put up record profits as demand was strong for machines used in data centers which store and process the huge amounts of information and porn that flow across the internet.  Profit rose nearly 50%, revenue of $11.46B was slightly above analyst guesses, and Q1 guidance was also ahead of analyst guesses as INTC shows that Moore’s Law is better.  The company talked about the PC upgrade cycle for businesses being a driver of growth as businesses need more computing power to make up for all of the laid off workers.

Also, JP Morgan kicked the snot out of earnings as if earnings had talked shit to them in front of a gas station.  Profits were up 48% to $17.4B as JPM can afford to take on riskier loans since the government will never let them fail as moral hazard isn’t just the youngest Kardashian‘s nickname.  The rumor is that JPM is pushing to increase their dividend as average pay has shrunk to a meager two BMWs and one nanny $370k per employee, so dividending out cash is one way to make employees who were given shares as bonuses feel like they aren’t slumming it.

In small caps, COOL continues to run up on the strength of sales for their Zumba Fitness game as apparently fat people love salsa even as a form of exercise.  COOL basically sells low end Wii games hoping that for every ten or so they launch, one will be a hit in the “if we produce enough shit, something should work” strategy.  This worked a few years ago with something called Garden Mama where apparently you could choose a MILF and have her trim some bushes or something, but since then, their games have been mostly flops and their cost management has been more lacking than Silvio Berlusconi’s IDing (or Lawrence Taylor’s).  In a way, COOL is a bit like McDonald’s (only if no one ate McDonald’s food) as one McRib can be a boost to sales.

So now this Zumba thing is working for them and they have finally hit on a fad again which as long as they stay in business, they should be able to do every few years.  The point is, this isn’t really a long-term strategy that a good company follows as they don’t have any competitive advantage or any real core capabilities other than the wherewithal to keep trying shit until they find that next wacky wall walker.  So Money McBags would never be a real investor in this company, but one could ride the momentum of their hit games as long as one keeps in mind that the run will be finite and the end will be more disappointing than the end of Dead Souls or the end of Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Anyway, Money McBags hates to play the momentum game and speculate on stocks but COOL is undoubtedly on to something here, some Wedbush analyst (and Money McBags would wed Carla Ossa‘s bush) guesses they will earn $.15 in fiscal 2011 (and Money McBags wishes he knew how much COOL made per unit to be able to get any type of forecast, but he is flying blinder here than a glaucomad Stevie Wonder), and the stock is trading at less than 10x that for what could be 20%+ revenue growth.  So if you want to make a short-term risky momentum trade in a kind of illiquid stock about which no one gives a shit and has been pumped up in the last few days more than this Coco person’s boobs, then COOL is for you.  Money McBags is not getting involved, but if you’re feeling lucky, you may be able to squeak out another 30% or so in relatively short time.  Just don’t get greedy, protect your downside, and don’t cross the streams.

And oh yeah, have a great weekend.