Week ahead: US economy, G7 meeting, retail

Week ahead: US economy, G7 meeting, retail

After a week dominated by questions over trade and the Federal Reserve’s next move, investors will be glued to new reports on the health of the US economy and a gathering of world leaders in France.

Here’s what to watch.

Economic data

The impact of the US-China spat will become a little clearer next week with the arrival of fresh data including gross domestic product, durable goods orders and trade.

An initial estimate showed the US economy grew at an annual pace of 2.1 per cent in the second quarter, reflecting robust consumer spending and weaker business investments. It marked a slowdown from the 3.1 per cent growth seen in the first three months of the year.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expect a slight downward revision in the second reading due August 29, forecasting a 2 per cent gain. The Fed has forecast GDP growth of 2.1 per cent in 2019.

July orders for long-lasting goods, from washing machines to vehicles, will offer a window into US factory activity and capital spending. Meanwhile, a report on US trade will update investors on the nation’s exchange of goods and services. A key item in the report will be US trade with China. The US ran a deficit of $30.2bn in June, a five-month high.

Also next week, investors will be able to parse new data on US home prices and pending homes sales; Italian manufacturing and GDP; Japanese industrial production and retail sales; French GDP; and German unemployment and consumer prices.

G7 meeting

French president Emmanuel Macron will host the Group of 7 summit amid growing worries over the global economy.

Leaders from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan will join Mr Macron in the French seaside town of Biarritz, where trade and Brexit will probably be among the topics discussed. During the gathering, President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the first time since the UK’s leadership vote.

The G7 meeting will begin this weekend and run until August 26.

Retail earnings

While it will be a quiet week for corporate earnings, investors will get another look inside the retail industry with large US chains including Best Buy and Dollar Tree due to publish quarterly results.

Consumer spending has been a bright spot for the US economy. Upbeat retail sales for the month of July, along with strong earnings from Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Lowe’s, eased the market’s fears over growth. However, Home Depot lowered its outlook on potential impacts from the next round of US tariffs, and investors will be closely following the sector as tariffs continues to threaten profits.

Other retail earnings of note include Ulta Beauty, Tiffany and JM Smucker. There’s also spirits maker Brown-Forman, which has warned that whiskey tariffs would pressure fiscal 2020 financial results.

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