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Don't trust retail sales, look to earnings instead: Jeff Macke

Retail sales slowed in April, rising just 0.1% after growing 1.5% in March. Consumers account for 70% of the economy and slowing growth may suggest that the economic recovery isn’t as robust as some analysts say.

Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke disagrees—he thinks the data doesn’t matter.

“When you have actual capitalists reporting news and a bunch of bureaucrats assembling data, ignore the later and pay attention to the capitalists,” he says.

Retailers reporting earnings this week include Walmart (WMT) , Macy’s (M) , J.C. Penney (JCP), and Kohl's (KSS).

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“Macy’s has really become America’s department store,” says Macke. “I want to hear how their high-end is doing, I want to hear if the customers showed up in April.” As for the company's earnings, “We can count on Macy’s to be pretty straight shooters with no shake-ups. They’re coming off of a really great 2013," he adds.

Macke doesn’t see a risk for the stock, and he’s betting against the people who think the American consumer is dead.

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Walmart is another huge retailer reporting on Thursday. “People love to characterize Walmart as the lower end and nobody wants to be identified as a Walmart customer," Macke says. "But they do more than $1 billion a day in American retail—Walmart is America."

The stock has been performing nicely, according to Macke, because they now have the advantage of competing against Target and because of their new online focus.

“No terrific numbers are expected from them but it’s an outstanding chance to get your finger on the pulse of the consumer,” says Macke.

Also keep your eye on J.C. Penney who reports after the market close on Thursday. "It’s all about liquidity" if the retailer is going to survive, he argues.

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