Wall Street is on a roll -- for now

Investors are expecting Wall Street to continue its recent winning ways.
Stocks are poised to open higher as investors await March retail sales data and the weekly unemployment report. Markets in Europe and Asia were higher.

Retail sales, though weak, may not be as bad as investors had feared. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Wal-Mart Stores and a select group of its discounting peers have helped retail sales exceed modest expectations every month since December, and that streak likely will continue."

Consumers who are able to spend may be demanding steeper bargains. These expectations helped boost oil prices past $51.

Economists are expecting weekly jobless claims to fall to 660,00, down from the previous week's total of 669,000, according to the Associated Press.

In other news, Morgan Stanley (MS) is expected to post a loss this quarter because a recent rebound in bonds issued before the financial crisis forced it to "take a hit of $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion on the bonds when it reports quarterly results later this month," according to the Journal.

Wall Street was bolstered yesterday by Pulte Homes Inc.'s (PHM) $1.3 billion acquisition of Centex Corp. (CTX). The deal, which would create the largest U.S. homebuilder, also boosted shares of other companies in the beaten-down sector.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY), the home furnishings chain, and casual restaurant owner Ruby Tuesday Inc. (RT) both reported better-than-expected results as did California Pizza Kitchen Inc. (CPKI), buoying optimism further.

Markets will be closed tomorrow for Good Friday.

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