Wall Street will get a glimpse next week into the mindset of the U.S. consumer ahead of the holiday shopping season. Retail sales figures for October are slated to be released, along with corporate earnings from discount giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and midrange department stores Macy's Inc. and J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
Economists are focused on retail sales after the September's numbers dropped more than expected, signaling concern about the strength of consumer spending heading into the year's final quarter. Consumer spending is pivotal to the overall health of the U.S. economy as it accounts for nearly two-third of gross domestic product. September's weaker-than-expected report, coupled with disappointing global data, sent the financial markets into a tailspin on Oct. 15 and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Averaging plunged 450 points. Investor sentiment dropped after weak retail sales, along with disappointing manufacturing numbers out of the U.S., increased fears of a global slowdown. Economists expect that retail sales edged up 0.2 percent in October, according analysts polled by Market Watch.
U.S. stocks were mixed on Friday following the Labor Department’s jobs report for October. Data revealed the U.S. economy produced fewer-than-expected jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent, a six-year low.
Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co. Inc., spoke to International Business Times from the New York Stock Exchange following Friday's jobs report, along with his outlook on what to expect on next week's economic calendar. Here's what he had to say.
“I’m getting a little nervous by some of the indicators that I’m starting to see, and I’m wondering if we’re topping out short-term in the economy,” said Bliss. “This jobs report alarmed me a little bit, but we’ll see how the confluence of all of these events, including what the retailers are telling us going into the fourth quarter.”
Economists will also be eyeing oil prices, which have been hovering around two-year lows, after West Texas Intermediate crude prices dipped below $80 on Oct. 27, its lowest since June 2012. One positive sign for the fourth quarter, traditionally the biggest for consumer spending, is that gasoline prices have been steadily falling since June. That’s putting nearly $30 to $40 billion back in consumer’s pockets, which could be a positive sign for the holiday shopping season, according to Srinivas Thiruvadanthai, director of research at the Jerome Levy Forecasting center.
“That will probably help the holiday season sales, especially for the middle to low-end consumers who are more sensitive to gas prices,” said Thiruvadanthai.
Here's the latest economic calendar for the week of Nov. 10. All listed times are EST.
Monday, Nov. 10
No U.S. economic data scheduled.
China – Oct. consumer price index; Oct. producer price Index
Tuesday, Nov. 11
Veterans Day – No U.S. economic data scheduled.
Wednesday, Nov. 12
7:30 a.m. -- Oct. NFIB small business index
10 a.m. -- Sept. Wholesale inventories
U.K. – Bank of England quarterly inflation report
Macy's Inc.; J.C. Penney Company, Inc.; Cisco Systems, Inc.
Thursday, Nov. 13
8:30 am -- Weekly jobless claims
10 am -- Sept. Job openings
2 pm -- Oct. Federal budget
China -- Oct. Retail sales; Oct. Industrial production
Europe -- ECB monthly report
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Kohl's Corporation; Nordstrom, Inc.; Weibo Corporation; Viacom Inc.
Friday, Nov. 14
8:30 a.m. -- Oct. Retail sales
8:30 a.m. -- Oct. Retail sales ex-autos
8:30 a.m. -- Oct. Import price index
9:55 a.m. -- Nov. Consumer sentiment index
10 a.m. -- Sept. Business inventories
Europe -- Q3 GDP; Oct. consumer price index
Germany -- Q3 GDP
Italy -- Q3 GDP
Portugal -- Q3 GDP