U.S. Stock ETFs Strengthen on Confidence in Consumer Spending

U.S. markets and stock ETFs climbed Wednesday as strong earnings numbers out of the retail segment helped mitigate fears of a slowing economy.

On Wednesday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) increased 0.8%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) rose 1.0% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) was 0.8% higher.

Lifting the broader retail segment, Target shares surged close to 20% on Wednesday and was on track for a new high after reporting sales and profits increased in the second quarter and raising its guidance for the year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Additionally, Lowe’s also revealed higher profits that beat estimates.

“There has been this very big imminent recession narrative that’s taken hold of the market,” R.J. Grant, director of equity trading at KBW, told the WSJ. The latest earnings show “that the consumer is a lot healthier than people think.”

“Investors are counting on the strength of consumer spending,” Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office, told Reuters. “When they see good earnings in the sector, it gives them some confidence, particularly when there is a lot of concern about non-internet retailers.”

Federal Reserve’s monetary policy outlook

Market watchers were also waiting on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy outlook as the central bank will publish minutes from its July meeting later in the day.

On Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Fed’s annual economic policy symposium.

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Several investors, though, warned that markets could see further volatility as markets analyzed comments from the central bank. The Fed has been a major contributor to volatility in recent weeks.

“Right now we’re kind of experiencing the calm before the storm,” Bryce Doty, senior portfolio manager at Sit Investment Associates, told the WSJ, cautioning that markets could grow more turbulent.

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