Investors will get some hard reads on the U.S. consumer this week, with earnings reports due out from Walmart, Target, Lowe's and Macy's. Sandwiched in between those reports will be the July update on retail sales, which is forecast to show a 0.2% decline from the June tally. On Wednesday, the release of Fed minutes will gives us some color on the varying viewpoints on bond buying tapering and inflation within the Fed.
According to the University of Michigan a key consumer sentiment reading saw a dramatic drop in early August as the delta variant of Covid increased fears about the path of the economy. The consumer sentiment index tumbled to 70.2 in its preliminary August reading. That is down more than 13% from July’s result of 81.2 and below the April 2020 mark of 71.8 which was lowest of the pandemic era.
About 90% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported 2nd quarter earnings and 87% of those companies have reported positive earnings per share surprises for the second calendar quarter. If 87% is the final percentage, it will mark the highest percentage of S&P 500 companies reporting positive EPS surprises since FactSet began tracking this metric in 2008.