Forget the Beach This Summer, Americans Are Going Shopping

Three big box retailers report better-than-expected earnings this morning, and comments from the three CEOs suggest gains are sustainable:


Consumer spending accounts for 56 percent of U.S. GDP, according to Citigroup strategist Tobias Levkovich. So consumer strength has a significant impact on overall economic health. Falling unemployment has resulted in higher U.S. personal income this year, which in turn is filtering back into the economy via higher spending.


Money managers are well aware of these flows, and have pushed up the S&P Retailing Index nearly 26 percent this year. Since hitting its all-time high on August 5 however, the index has slipped nearly 5 percent, roughly in-line with the broader market. It's now resting on a clear trend line which has provided support three times this year.


Given today's reaction to earnings (Best Buy is up 10 percent and TJX 5 percent), we highlight six retailers reporting over the next several days where analysts have recently raised estimates. We note each has traded lower this month, creating potential for a rebound.


Blog readers who instead prefer playing the broader trend can diversify via two ETFs: XRT and RTH. The XRT includes roughly 70 stocks in equal proportion and tracks the S&P Retail Index pictured above. The RTH on the other hand is market cap-weighted, so Wal-Mart accounts for 8.8 percent of the index, Home Depot (HD ) 7.8 percent, Amazon (AMZN ) 7.6 percent, Lowe's (LOW ) 5.2 percent, CVS Caremark (CVS ) 5.2 percent.

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