Posted on 25th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair weekly Insights

MAJOR EVENTS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK THAT YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING:

Cur. Event      
Monday, April 27, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
  GBP GDP (QoQ) (Q1)  
  USD CB Consumer Confidence (Apr)  
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
  USD GDP (QoQ) (Q1)  
  USD FOMC decision  
Thursday, April 30, 2015
  NZD Interest Rate Decision  
  EUR German Unemployment Change (Apr)  
  EUR CPI (YoY) (Apr)  
  RUB Interest Rate Decision (Apr)  
  CAD GDP (MoM) (Feb)  
Friday, May 1, 2015
  CNY Manufacturing PMI (Apr)  
  GBP Manufacturing PMI (Apr)  
  USD ISM Manufacturing PMI (Apr)  

 

Global Exchanges

The Nasdaq Composite advanced Thursday to a record close, its first since March 10, 2000. The tech-heavy index rose 0.4 per cent to close at 5056.06, surpassing its previous all-time high of 5048.62. The NASDAQ’s gains this year have outpaced advances in the Dow industrials and S&P 500. The NASDAQ has rallied 6.8 per cent in 2015 through Thursday’s close, while the Dow has added 1.3 per cent and the S&P has advanced 2.6 per cent. Over the last 12 months, the NASDAQ has surged 22 per cent, more than twice the Dow’s 9.4 per cent gain.  On Friday the index’s rise was driven primarily by a number of solid corporate earnings reports.

The S&P 500 climbed 5 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,118 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 21 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 18,080.

Google said its revenue took a hit from the rising dollar in the first quarter, as the company generates more than 55 per cent of its revenue outside the US But shares rose 3.5 per cent as better expense control boosted profit margins.

Amazon.com Inc. swung to a first-quarter loss despite rapidly rising sales, as it continued to spend heavily to fund a variety of projects. Shares of the e-commerce giant rallied 15 per cent.

European stock markets closed higher Friday on hopes embattled Eurozone member Greece will take strides towards a debt deal to unlock bailout money. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 ended the day 0.24 per cent higher at 7,070.70 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 finished 0.44 per cent ahead at 5,201.45 points. Frankfurt’s benchmark DAX 30 index closed up 0.74 per cent at 11,810.45 points, helped by data showing German business confidence at a 10-month high.

global markets forexwords

Currency Markets

The US dollar has extended its losses on a run of weaker-than-expected US economic data, helping prop up the euro despite lack of progress in Greece bailout talks. The government report on US durable goods orders was the latest to raise questions about the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate increase. While the headline number rose 4.0 per cent in March that was driven by jumps in civilian and military aircraft and autos; without them orders fell 0.2 per cent.

The greenback was quoted at 119.56 yen, slightly up from 119.55 yen in New York but well below the 120.10 yen touched earlier Thursday. The euro was trading in narrow range after it strengthened ahead of a Eurozone finance ministers meeting as Greece seeks to strike a deal with its international creditors to avert a default.

The single currency bought $1.0790 and 129.01 yen, down from $1.0823 and 129.39 yen in US trade. The Federal Reserve has ruled out raising interest rates when it meets next week, but policymakers have left the door open to a move in June, largely depending on the state of the world´s top economy. Official data Thursday showed fresh claims for US unemployment insurance benefits edged up marginally, while sales of new homes plunged in March after a sharp rise in February.

global currency forexwords

Commodity Markets

Gold closed lower to tally a loss of more than 2 percent for the week as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week. June gold fell 1.6 percent to settle at $1,175 an ounce. Prices, based on the most-active contracts, fell about 2.4 percent for the week.

In energy trading, U.S. oil futures finished with a loss today, but scored a gain of more than 2 percent for the week on concerns about crude supplies in the Middle East. June crude settled at $57.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 1 percent. Based on the front-month contracts, prices were up around 2.5 percent for the week.

In Yemen, while reports emerged of fresh airstrikes on weapons depots and other military installations by Saudi Arabia yesterday, an Iranian flotilla reportedly departed from the Gulf of Aden, which reduced the risk of a conflict at sea.

Posted on 23rd April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  EUR German Ifo Business Climate Index
  USD Core Durable Goods Orders (MoM)
  CAD BoC Gov. Poloz Speaks

 

Big Ebay News

April 24, 2015

Barry Norman

ebay-und-paylayThe FTSE index erased earlier losses and swung higher on Thursday, with miners leading the charge on the back of a rebound in metals prices and well-received corporate news for the sector. The FTSE 100 rose 0.2% to 7,042, partly recovering from a 0.5% loss on Wednesday.

The biggest advancer on Thursday was Antofagasta, which jumped 4.3% after the Chilean copper producer said it agreed to sell its water division to Colombia’s Empresas Publicas de Medellin for 596 billion Chilean pesos ($960 million).

The S&P 500 was off about a point, or 0.1%, to 2,105. The Dow Jones dropped 30 points, or 0.3%, to 17,990. A 4% decline in 3M’s shares was contributing heavily to Dow’s losses. The Nasdaq was flat at 5,034, within a striking distance from its record level reached 15 years ago.

On Wednesday, the Nasdaq rose for a third straight session, resting only 13 points below its record close, reached on March 10, 2000. On an exceptionally busy day shares of eBay Inc.  jumped 4% after earnings showed its PayPal unit brought more revenue than its core marketplace division. EBay Inc. reported Wednesday that its revenue rose a better-than-expected 4.4% in the first quarter, though revenue at its key marketplace segment fell.

ebay

The Internet commerce company earlier reported that it is cutting 2,400 jobs, adding three board members and exploring the sale or spinoff of its eBay Enterprise unit, which helps companies with their Web sales efforts. Last week, it named three executives as part of a leadership shake-up ahead of the planned split of PayPal. The PayPal split is expected to close in the third quarter. In the first quarter, PayPal revenue was $2.1 billion with total payment volumes up 18%.

Sales of new single-family homes tumbled 11.4% to an annual rate of 481,000 in March, pulling back from a seven-year high reached in the prior month and hitting the slowest pace since November, according to government data released Thursday. However, economists’ caution that a side margin for error make single monthly reading less reliable. The number of people who applied for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits ticked up 1,000 to 295,000 in the week that ended April 18, signaling a low level of layoffs, according to government data released Thursday.

global markets forexwords

 

Posted on 22nd April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  CNY HSBC Manufacturing PMI (Apr)
  EUR German Manufacturing PMI (Apr)
  GBP Retail Sales (MoM) (Mar)
  USD New Home Sales (Mar)

Europe Worried Over Greece

April 23, 2015

Barry Norman

Eurozone consumer confidence fell in April, registering its first decline in five months as the uncertainty surrounding Greece weighed on sentiment. The index fell to -4.6 this month from -3.7, which was the highest score since July 2007, missing analysts’ expectations of a -2.5 reading.

Meanwhile, the consumer confidence index for the whole of the European Union declined 0.4 points to -2.2.

Analysts said that confidence was unlikely to rise strongly again, as the risk of Greece leaving the Eurozone, while the economic growth could suffer from a slowdown.

“While low inflation should support households’ real incomes, unemployment is likely to remain high,” said Jack Allen, assistant economist at Capital Economics. “And we think that the boost to economic growth from the weaker euro will fade next year.”

eurozone consumer confidence forexwords

“April’s decline in the EC measure of consumer confidence suggests that concerns about Greece may have begun to take a toll on the Eurozone’s household sector,”

The euro fell 0.06% to $1.0730. The pound outperformed the markets today to trade at $1.5041 up by 109 points.

The Bank of England’s minutes of its 9 April meeting showed policymakers saw an increase in the Bank Rate as “more likely than not” over the coming three years. All BoE officials voted in favor of keeping key interest rates at 0.5% and asset purchases at £375bn at the last meeting, the minutes revealed. Members of the Monetary Policy Committee also turned more positive on the Eurozone, saying if economic recovery continued it would have a positive effect on the UK despite the strengthening in the pound.

The US dollar dipped in the early session but after strong economic data the greenback reversed course to end flat at 98.31. In the US, a report revealed existing home sales rose 6.1% in March, smashing estimates for a 3.1% increase, amid an increase in employment and low interest rates.

existing home sales forexwords wed

The Swiss franc weakened against the euro and U.S. dollar Wednesday after the Swiss National Bank said it would eliminate exemptions from its policy of negative interest rates for certain public accounts, including the central bank’s pension fund. One euro was worth 1.0335 francs in recent trade, compared with 1.0257 francs Tuesday afternoon.

In other currency trading, the dollar retraced earlier losses against the yen recorded earlier in the global day after Japanese officials reported the country’s first monthly trade surplus in nearly three years.

currency forexwords wed

 

Posted on 21st April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  AUD CPI (QoQ) (Q1)
  GBP BoE MPC Meeting Minutes
  USD Existing Home Sales (Mar)

 

UK Elections In Full On Mode

April 21, 2015

Barry Norman

uk electionsEuropean shares rose for a second straight day today, supported by better than expected corporate earnings. Also in the US, Wall Street gained for a second straight day. EU’s Juncker sounded pessimistic on the Greek negotiations today saying he is not at all happy with the progress of Greek talks. Eurogroup Chairman Dijsselbloem sounded more positive and said a deal by the end of the month is still possible, adding that there is reason for some optimism. Greek Prime Minister Tsipras will meet German Chancellor Merkel on Thursday.

The ECB is studying measures to rein in Greek bank’s ELA‐use, people with knowledge of the discussions said today, adding that ECB staff has proposed to increase the haircuts imposed on the securities banks post as collateral when borrowing from the Bank of Greece. The euro reversed earlier losses to gain 15 points on the day. The EURUSD is trading at 1.0752.

The story for sterling trading was also exactly similar to yesterdays. Cable and EUR/GBP basically followed the moves in the euro and the dollar. Cable and EUR/USD both ceded ground against a broader stronger dollar. Cable again slightly outperformed EUR/USD, leaving EUR/GBP with a limited intraday loss. EUR/GBP has returned below the 0.72 mark and is changing hands in the 0.7185 area. Cable struggles not to lose the 1.49 big figure.

currency wed

The UK pound is under pressure with data coming less supportive, while uncertainty about the outcome of the general election next month is adding to the bearishness. The data calendar this week has UK events like Bank of England minutes and March retail sales numbers scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday respectively but the major deciding factor will be the clarity of the political scene of the country. Although markets appear comfortable they have priced an appropriate additional risk premium for the UK Election, an important dynamic is the impact uncertainty can have on high frequency data and the read-across to BoE policy, says RBS.

 

 

Posted on 20th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  EUR German ZEW Economic Sentiment

The US Dollar Bounces Back

April 21, 2015

Barry Norman

greece eurThe euro reversed last week’s gains to trade at 1.0736 losing 71 points as Greece weighed on markets today. With little economic data headlines were the main focus of traders. A country that defaults would not have to leave the euro, the European Central Bank’s vice president said on Monday, in frank remarks about Greece that also touched on possible capital controls and showed how acute Athens’ problems have become. Both European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned at IMF-World Bank spring meetings in Washington that Greece has not provided enough information about how its economic and reform plans will impact its finances.

With Greece seeking the release of another 7.2 billion euros in bailout funds from the European Union, Draghi cautioned that not reaching an agreement would take the situation into “uncharted waters.”

He and Lagarde said that however the new far-left Greek government of Alexis Tsipras wanted to adjust policies under the country’s massive bailout; it still needed to demonstrate the effect on the budget and debt.

Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister Ioannis Dragasakis said in an interview published Sunday that Athens would stand firm in negotiations with its creditors.

European central banks have lent 110 billion euros to Greek banks, the head of France’s monetary authority said in comments published Monday, warning that any move by Athens to leave the Eurozone would be “traumatic.”

currency tuesday

Concern is mounting that Greece, which urgently needs new financing to pay salaries at the end of the month and its creditors, could default on its huge debt and potentially exit the single currency bloc.

The country wants the last tranche of its bailout funding worth 7.2 billion euros ($7.7 billion) but has balked at tough reform conditions demanded by its creditors in exchange. Negotiations are ongoing.

In an interview with Le Figaro daily, Christian Noyer, head of France’s central bank, said the level of funding of the Greek economy by the Eurosystem — the Eurozone’s monetary authority — was “by far the biggest in the Eurozone”.

Posted on 19th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  EUR German PPI (MoM) (Mar)

 

Greece Is Out Of Money & Time

April 20, 2015

Barry Norman

greece eurGreece isn’t winning much sympathy from its debt-wracked European counterparts as the country draws closer to default for failing to make bailout repayments. “We are not sympathetic to Greece,” French Finance Minister Michael Sapin said in an interview at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank spring meetings here.

“We are demanding because Greece must comply with the European (rules) that apply to all countries,” Sapin said.

Greece has been pushed a step closer to default and potential exit from the euro after one of its main lenders, the International Monetary Fund, all but ruled out allowing the cash-strapped country to delay repaying the €1bn (£722m) due next month.

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said delaying the payments would be an unprecedented action that would only make the situation worse. Speaking at the organization’s spring meeting, she said: “Payment delays have not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years.”

Greece will need to tap all the remaining cash reserves across its public sector — a total of 2 billion euros ($2.16 billion) — to pay civil service wages and pensions at the end of the month, according to finance ministry officials.

Barring a last-ditch deal with its creditors, that is likely to leave no money to repay the International Monetary Fund almost 1 billion euros due in the first half of May; although Greece has said it wants to honor its debt obligations. Athens’ scramble for basic funds shows how extreme the financial constraints on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have become as he tries to convince skeptical foreign creditors to extend his country new financial aid.

Greece’s finance ministry denied that it would need to tap remaining cash reserves to meet salary payments, without providing any figures.

Greek finances forexwords

Posted on 18th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair weekly Insights

MAJOR EVENTS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK THAT YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING:

Time Cur. Event      
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
  EUR German ZEW Economic  
  AUD CPI (QoQ) (Q1)  
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
  USD Existing Home Sales (Mar)  
  CNY HSBC Manufacturing PMI  
Thursday, April 23, 2015
  EUR German Manufacturing PMI  
  GBP Retail Sales (MoM) (Mar)  
  USD New Home Sales (Mar)  
Friday, April 24, 2015
  EUR German Ifo Business Climate  
  USD Core Durable Goods Orders  

 

Global Exchanges

UK stocks dropped sharply on Friday with the FTSE 100 finishing below the 7,000 level for the first time in seven sessions, after a terminal blackout and changes in Chinese trading regulations. After a positive start, the FTSE ended 65.82 points lower at 6,994.63, its lowest finish since 8 April. The index fell for the second straight day after settling at a new all-time closing high of 7,096.78 on Wednesday.

Uncertainty in Greece was also prompting investors to tread lightly on Friday as the debt crisis dominates talks at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

The S&P 500 posted its biggest percentage loss since March 25 on Friday as investors shunned risk amid new trading regulations in China, renewed worries about Greece running out of money, and tepid U.S. corporate earnings.

Selling followed sharp overseas stocks declines and was broad, with all 10 major S&P 500 sectors losing ground. Among the biggest drags, the S&P financials index was down 1.3 percent, with shares of Dow component American Express falling 4.4 percent to $77.32 after revenue missed analysts’ estimates, partly due to the currency impact.

The Dow and S&P 500 both snapped two weeks of gains. For the week, the Dow was down 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 down 1 percent and the NASDAQ down 1.3 percent.

global equities forexwords

 

Currency Markets

The euro stabilized itself further on Thursday as investors digested the ECB’s policy decisions taken on the previous day and a raft of Fed rate-setters weighed in with their individual views on the current outlook for policy. Significantly, ECB governing council member Peter Praet could be heard reiterating Draghi’s stance, from Wednesday, that there are no doubts regarding the potential tapering of QE purchases and it is not being discussed. However, speaking in the afternoon the IMF’s Christine Lagarde said Japan and the Eurozone need to improve the effectiveness of their respective asset purchase programs.

Dollar/yen ended the day off by 0.14% to 118.89 after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated the economy continues to grow at a moderate trend and will not hesitate to adjust monetary policy if necessary. Cable ended the session up by 0.17% to 1.4957. The euro closed the week at a short term high over the 1.08 level.

global currency forexwords

Commodity Markets

Crude oil futures for May crashed up to 2 percent during trading Thursday after Saudi Arabia boosted crude production to the highest in three decades in March. Tumbling prices erased gains from Wednesday, when London-traded Brent prices increased nearly 6 percent, settling at $63.32, the highest mark since December 18. Saudi Arabia, increased daily oil production by 658,800 barrels in March to an average of 10.294 million barrels a day, says data the country gave to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ secretariat in Vienna.

This volume is more than the kingdom’s 10.2 million barrels per day(bpd)in August 2013, and output will continue to hover around 10 million bpd , Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters last week.

Gold pared gains on Friday, heading for a second weekly drop, after data showing U.S. consumer prices rose in March tempered speculation the Federal Reserve will delay its first interest rate rise in nearly a decade. Gold added 0.4 percent to settle at $1,203.10 an ounce.

 

Posted on 16th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  GBP Claimant Count Change
  EUR CPI (YoY) (Mar)
  USD Core CPI (MoM) (Mar)
  CAD Core CPI (MoM) (Mar)
  CAD Core Retail Sales

 

More Lackluster US Data

April 17, 2015

Barry Norman

greece eurMost of the day Greek finances weighed on the markets after Moody’s downgraded Greek debt to junk and comments from officials indicating that Greece would not be able to make their May 1st payments to the IMF.  Greek officials made an informal approach to the IMF to delay repayments of loans, but were told that no rescheduling was possible, the FT reports. In an interview with Reuters, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said he was firmly optimistic his government would reach an agreement with international creditors by the end of the month.

The euro is trading at 1.0739 gaining almost 60 points as the US dollar plunged after the release of weak data. The greenback declined 53 points to 98.02. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index showed a limited rebound in April, rising from 5 to 7.5, slightly above the market consensus. The breakdown however continued to show a mixed picture.

currency forexwords

In March, US housing starts and permits continued to surprise on the downside of expectations. Housing starts rose only marginally after a plunge in the month before. Housing starts rose by 2.0% M/M to a total level of 926000, well below the market consensus, which was looking for a rebound to 1,040000. Only single-family starts (4.4% M/M) rose in March, while multi-family ones dropped. Building permits dropped by 5.7% M/M to a total level of 1,039000, more than reversing the previous month’s increase. The consensus was looking for a more limited correction to 1,039000.

In the week ending the 11th of April, US initial jobless claims picked up by 12000 to a total level of 294000. The outcome was well above the market consensus, which was looking for a broadly stable outcome. The less-volatile four week moving average picked up marginally, from 282500 to 282750. The Labor Department said no states were estimated and there was nothing unusual in the data.

jobless forexwords

 

Posted on 15th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  AUD Employment Change (Mar)
  USD Building Permits (Mar)
  USD Philadelphia Fed

 

Mario Draghi Turns Dovish

April 16, 2015

Barry Norman

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi attends the monthly news conference in FrankfurtEuropean shares rebounded from their dip yesterday, supported by dovish talk at the ECB press conference and better than expected corporate earnings. Wall Street traded higher ignoring weaker US eco data. ECB President Draghi sounded dovish on the QE program at the ECB press conference today and downplayed the possibility of early end to the QE program. He ruled out the possibility of another deposit rate cut and added they see pass-through from their policy to the real economy. The euro continued to slide giving up 37 points today while the US dollar remained over 99.

Risks to the global financial system are rising, as emerging markets face a squeeze from the strong US dollar and weak commodity prices, the IMF said. While the strengthening greenback and lower oil prices are boosting the world recovery, the changing landscape is putting pressure on countries and firms that export crude and other commodities, the International Monetary Fund said in its semiannual Global Financial Stability Report released on Wednesday.

The IMF’s warning comes two years after emerging markets were roiled by speculation the Federal Reserve would wind down its unprecedented stimulus program, an episode known as the “taper tantrum.”

Fed policy makers have signaled the central bank may start raising rates as early as June, a move that would increase the burden on foreign companies that borrowed in US dollars.

us dollar forexwords

Volatility in major foreign-exchange rates has increased by more than any similar time since the global financial crisis, the IMF said.

The ECB kept its policy unchanged today. The press conference was briefly interrupted by a protestor yelling “End ECB dictatorship”. After a short break, ECB president Draghi repeated that the ECB intends to carry out QE until September 2016 or at least until there is a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation. The ECB clarified the second part of the statement as follows: “… concentrate on trends in inflation, looking through unexpected outcomes in measured inflation in either direction if judged to be transient and to have no implication for the medium‐term outlook for price stability.” While somewhat opaque wordings, ECB Draghi tried to downplay the possibility of an early stop to the QE program.

eurusd forexwords

Posted on 14th April 2015 by barry norman in Stockpair Daily Insight

stockpair-dailytips (2)

Stockpair traders should keep an eye on these events today:

Cur. Event
  CNY GDP (QoQ) (Q1)
  CNY Industrial Production
  EUR Interest Rate Decision
  EUR ECB Press Conference
  CAD Interest Rate Decision
  CAD BoC Gov. Poloz

US Retail Sales Fails To Support The Dollar

April 15, 2015

Barry Norman

retail shoppersEuropean shares failed to maintain their early gains and dropped lower during the session, despite strong European data. US Equities opened slightly higher as weaker retail sales overshadowed by stronger corporate earnings, but struggle to safeguard their gains.

The IMF kept its global growth forecasts unchanged, but warned that the recovery remains moderate and uneven as a pick‐up in the Eurozone and India is expected to be offset by diminished prospects in other key emerging markets.

The results of the ECB’s Bank Lending Survey for the first quarter showed a further net easing in credit standards on loans to enterprises, although conditions were still tight compared with historical standards. Net demand for loans to enterprises continued to improve, but credit standards for loans to households for house purchase were slightly tightened.

US NIFB small business confidence weakened 2.8 points to 95.2 in March, well below the market consensus, which was looking for a broadly stable outcome. Small business owners were especially more cautious on the economy and cut the number of current job openings.

Eurozone industrial production rebounded by 1.1% M/M in February, the strongest increase in 10 months and well above market expectations. Detail show that strength was broad‐based across sectors, boding well for first quarter growth.

us retail sales total annual

The US dollar reversed early gains to fall 81 points to trade at 98.93 while the euro gained 98 points to move back to 1.0664.  Retail sales increased 0.9 percent in March. That was the largest gain since the same month last year and snapped three straight months of declines that had been blamed on harsh winter weather. Sales at retailers and restaurants increased 0.9% last month to a seasonally adjusted $441.4 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was the biggest monthly gain in a year, but was weaker than economists expected. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected total sales would rise 1.1% in March.

us retail sales