As President Donald Trump prepares to slap new tariffs on Chinese imports, investors are bracing for signs of pressure on U.S. consumers as top retailers begin reporting quarterly results next week and key consumer sentiment and retail sales data is released.
Investors and analysts are anxious about the impact of Trump’s planned 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports, which will largely affect consumer goods, unlike the previous round that fell heavily on industrial and business products. That could be a double whammy for the U.S. economy, which is about 70% driven by consumers, and retailers.
Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors in New York, is among analysts focusing on the fallout from the tariffs, noting that the planned new round will “disproportionately” impact consumer goods.
“We’ll be watching the data particularly around retail sales and consumer confidence,” Mahajan said. “We’ll continue to monitor the softening in manufacturing and inflation as well, but more important for the U.S. economic picture is the consumer right now.”
July retail sales data is due out on Thursday. Excluding autos, sales are expected to have grown 0.3% compared with 0.4% in June, according to a Reuters poll. On Friday, the University of Michigan’s preliminary August reading of consumer sentiment is expected to show a slip to 97.7 from 98.4 in July.
The S&P retail index fell a total of 5.3% in the first three trading sessions following Trump’s Aug. 1 tariff announcement. As of Thursday’s market close, the index was down 1.6% for the month so far.