1. Shop until you drop: The economy is booming because unemployment is low and people are spending more of their paychecks at Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot and a bunch of other retailers that report earnings this week.
Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the American economy, and there’s no better indicator for how much people are shopping than the financial health of stores.
On Wednesday, the US government will report retail sales for July. The Commerce Department said consumer spending grew at a 4% pace in the second quarter, and May and June were particularly strong. Wall Street analysts expect retail sales remained solid in July, even though consumer sentiment dipped a bit.
Investors will pay particularly close attention to retailers’ outlooks for the rest of the year to gauge how robustly consumers are expected to spend through the holidays. Higher inflation is beginning to eat into people’s paychecks. Wage growth has remained tepid, yet gas prices are rising, and tariffs have boosted prices on everything from cars to soda.
Here’s a rundown on who’ll be reporting next week.
Macy’s (M) is staging an epic comeback thanks to a focus on e-commerce. Shares of Macy’s are up 60% this year, making it the second-best-performing retailer in the S&P 500 — trailing only Amazon (AMZN).
Macy’s will report its results before the opening bell Wednesday. Investors will be looking for more evidence that sales growth is picking up and that store closures and cost cuts are boosting profits.
Walmart, which has emerged as a formidable player in online and mobile retail thanks to a series of acquisitions, reports its results Thursday. There are concerns that Walmart’s digital momentum may be fading a bit, though, and that the company still has a long way to go to catch Amazon. The stock is down nearly 10% this year…