08/08/11 – theGrio and CNBC Market Update

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This week investors will gain insight on consumers with earnings reports from Macy’s, JC Penney and Kohl’s. We also expect quite a bit of economics data on interest rates, retail sales and consumer sentiment.

The Federal Reserve will meet to discuss the economy and interest rates. During their June meeting, the fed kept its key interest rate, which affects mortgage, credit card and student loan rates – unchanged. And said unemployment remains elevated, but it expects the economy to improve later this year.

We’ll get a read on the consumer with the July retail sales report, which tracks food, clothing and auto sales. In June, sales rose slightly, driven by higher auto sales despite the biggest drop in gasoline sales in a year.

Are we feeling better about the economy? We’ll find out with the initial consumer sentiment report for August. In July, sentiment declined to a 63.7 reading – to its lowest level in two years – on concerns about the health of the economy. Consumer sentiment is a gauge of consumer spending.