PREVIEW-US retail sales seen up 0.2 pct in April

* WHAT: U.S. April retail sales report

* WHEN: Friday, May 14, at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT)

REUTERS FORECASTS:

* Median forecast for retail sales +0.2 percent versus +1.9
percent in March. Forecasts range from -0.8 percent to +1.2
percent.

* Median forecast for sales excluding autos +0.4 percent
versus +0.9 percent in March. Forecasts range from -0.5 percent
to +0.9 percent.

FACTORS TO WATCH

A decline in auto sales probably held back overall retail
sales growth in April after March’s brisk pace. Auto sales fell
5.1 percent to an annualized 11.2 million units last month.
Sales excluding autos are expected to have risen for a third
straight month.

Some analysts believe an early Easter may have pushed
forward apparel sales to March, which may have led to smaller
gains in April. Retail chain store sales rose 0.5 percent in
April, according to data released last week.

Still, sales outside autos are seen supported by strong
receipts from electronic and appliance stores as consumers take
advantage of the “cash for appliances” program. This is part of
the government stimulus program and it gives rebates for
purchases of new energy-efficient appliances.

Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the
consumer spending component of the government’s gross domestic
product report, are expected to have risen further in April.
Such an outcome would bolster expectations the rebound in
consumer spending can be sustained and help the economic
recovery become less reliant on government support. Core sales
exclude autos, gasoline and building materials.

MARKET IMPACT

Barring big surprises, Treasury prices are unlikely to
react much to the retail sales data. The bond market has been
on a roller coaster, shrugging off recent upbeat U.S. data, due
to shifting sentiment on the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

The U.S. dollar may see a lift from a strong report as it
would harden expectations the Federal Reserve will raise
interest rates sooner than most economists expect. However,
with investors’ attention squarely focused on the problems in
Europe, reaction may be limited.

The key support level for euro/dollar is around $1.2510,
the pair’s 14-month low hit last week. Resistance is at $1.29.
For dollar/yen, near-term support is at 92, while resistance is
at 93.40 to 93.55.

Stock Basics
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Richard Leong and Wanfeng Zhou;
Editing by Leslie Adler)

PREVIEW-US retail sales seen up 0.2 pct in April