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May 18 2015, 07.30am GMT


Some of the U.S. retail giants are, this week, set to report earnings. Investors will be eagerly waiting to compare their results against the recently dull retail sales figures.

This comes amid a lighter week of economic data before the Memorial Day weekend.

The past week saw stocks finishing higher with the S&P 500 index (SPX) on Friday reaching a new record high of 2,122.73. The benchmark index overcame a series of smaller losses seen earlier in the week with the index closing up 0.3% on the week. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) increased 0.9%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) concluded the week 0.5% higher.

On Tuesday, this week, the last remaining two Dow 30 components are set to report their quarterly earnings namely, Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). Kingsview Asset Management’s portfolio manager, Paul Nolte said that the retail numbers will be very important because nationally the retail sales were not good so many people will try reconcile that with the earnings reports.

 Although the April consumer spending numbers will not be reflected in this week’s earning reports, retail sales growth has been dropping steadily since the start of 2015.

According to a more recent note from Goldman Sachs, the drop in oil prices have done very little to increase consumer spending and continues to be one of the concerns that management have often cited during this earnings season.

Half of the twenty-four S&P 500 companies set to report earnings this week are retailers whom among them are Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY), Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Lowe’s Cos. (NYSE: LOW) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT).

Included with these retail earnings reports due this week are the Federal Open Market Committee’s April meeting minutes, the April Consumer Price Index along with the housing data which will hopefully provide investors with a clearer indication of when the Fed is expected to increase interest rates.

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