Economy

The Week Ahead: Amazon and Shopify earnings, Fed's big decision

Data from the government and corporations will offer a snapshot of the US economy.

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All eyes will be on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday.
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Welcome to a new week. It's the middle of the summer and many areas of the country are sweltering. Nevertheless, we're getting ready for a big week of business headlines. Earnings and federal data set to be released this week will together offer a snapshot of the current state of the economy. Let’s get right to the rundown of what’s in store, and the key themes we’ll be tracking throughout:

Events

  • Digital Food and Beverage: The CPG community comes together in Austin for a conference focused on ecommerce and digital marketing. Speakers include leaders from Mondelez International, PepsiCo, Nestle and General Mills. (July 25-26)
  • Adweek’s Commerce Week: Bringing marketing, media and commerce together, the hybrid event is partially in-person in New York, and partially virtual. Speakers include leaders from Walmart, Philips, Fabletics, Kellogg’s and more. (July 26-28)

Economic Indicators

Here’s a look at key economic data that commerce professionals will be watching this week:

  • Federal Reserve: The US central bank announces its decision on whether to raise interest rates at a time when the pressure is on for the Fed to execute a “soft landing” and avoid a recession. Many economists believe a rate hike is likely as inflation continues to heat up, but whether it will match the 0.75 rate hike of June or deviate from that pace won’t be revealed until Wednesday’s press conference with Chair Jerome Powell. (July 27)
  • Durable goods orders for June will be out just before the Fed’s announcement. This measures new orders placed with manufacturers for delivery of hard goods with a life of three years. It’s a snapshot of the state of industrial production. (July 27)
  • Retail inventories are out for June on Wednesday, as well. This measure has been in focus with one of the latest swings of the pandemic leaving many retailers overstocked with goods that are mismatched to demand.
  • GDP data for the second quarter arrives Thursday, including growth and pricing data. This will offer a snapshot of overall US economic activity. (July 28)
  • Personal Consumption Expenditures Index will be reported on Friday. A measure of inflation preferred by the Fed, this gauge is known for its breadth of data and ability to track changes in consumer behavior. (July 29)

Earnings

With major retail channels and consumer goods companies on the schedule this week, business leaders will provide a look at what they're seeing in consumers and the economy. Here’s a look at the public companies that will be reporting second quarter data:

  • July 26: Coca-Cola, Alphabet, Visa, Microsoft, Mondelez, McDonald’s, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, Albertsons, Skechers, UPS.
  • July 27: Meta, Shopify, Kraft-Heinz, Etsy.
  • July 28: Amazon, Apple, Keurig-Dr. Pepper, Hershey Company, Overstock.com.
  • July 29: Procter & Gamble, Mastercard.

Stories we’re following

With lots of new economic and business data set to be released, this week will provide a view into the current state of the economy. Here are a few themes we’ll be watching.

  • The R-word? PMI data from Friday indicated that US business activity is on the decline for the first time in more than two years, prompting S&P Global to warn of a “worrying deterioration” in the economy. Will talk of a recession get louder in reports this week?
  • Sticker shock: Inflation was still at 40-year highs in June. Corporations were already starting to raise prices in Q1. Has it continued in Q2, and to what extent are these hikes being passed on to the consumer?
  • Health of the consumer: One of the most frequently asked questions on earnings calls in Q1 concerned how the consumer was responding to those rising prices. To date, retail sales data has shown shoppers have still been spending, even though sentiment is down at record lows. Did spending start to drop off in Q2? And, how are consumer shopping habits changing amid higher prices?
  • Fuel and transportation costs: In Q1, company earnings took a hit in part due to fuel and transportation costs, which were also continuing to rise through Q2. Will these increased costs of doing business continue to eat away at margins, and is any relief in sight as the price of fuel begins to come down?
  • Will ecommerce sales bounce back? The story of Q1 in the retail world was a return to in-person shopping as COVID restrictions were lifted. But an economic shock has a way of changing the narrative. Retail sales data showed an uptick in nonstore sales, showing some signs of digital gains. As shoppers sought price breaks and savings on gas, did they turn to ecommerce more in Q2? Amazon and Shopify’s earnings in particular could have a lot to say on this point.

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What: At this three-day conference focused solely on advertising, Amazon will announce new advertising solutions, talk innovation, present insights from industry leaders and hold educational sessions. Speakers include leaders from Amazon Ads, Publicis Media, Kantar, Wendy's and more.

When: Oct. 25-27, 2022

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