MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: We are still exegeting unofficial economic data for clues about where the economy stands. The 35-day partial government shutdown delayed data collection and analysis and so we still lack an official report on Gross Domestic Product.
What we do know is that the National Retail Foundation is forecasting continued strong sales for 2019. Retailers expect revenues of $3.8 trillion for the year. It represents a range of 3.8 to 4.4 percent better than 2018. Consumer spending drives about 70 percent of the American economy, so sales growth would be a good sign.
It’s a strong forecast, but it’s not quite as hot as last year’s estimate by the retailers.
REICHARD: On Wall Street, all the major indexes rose very slightly: The Standard & Poor’s 500, the Nasdaq, and the smaller-company index, the Russell 2000. For the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the zero-point-two percent rise represented the seventh straight winning week. That’s the longest winning streak since November of 2017.
The Dow’s not yet caught up with last October’s record high. But it’s now up 15 percent from its low point on Christmas Eve.
EICHER: But here’s a major cause for concern: According to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, more than 30 companies in the S&P 500 have warned of a possible decline in first quarter earnings—a drop of about 2 percent year over year. Large American companies have not suffered a profit decline like that since the second quarter of 2016.
And that is this week’s Monday Moneybeat.