Retail sales dropped 1.1% in July, the Commerce Department reported today, August 17. Sales of furniture, sporting goods, building materials, cars and auto parts were all down strongly in the month.
Sales at non-store retailers, which include e-commerce sales, dropped 3% in July.
A trend? The effects of the Delta Variant? Hard to tell.
Amazon shifted its Prime Day to June this year from July. And that certainly took a bite out of online sales.
Consumers might be rethinking their return to in-person shopping and dining, but sales of clothing and clothing accessories, as well as at restaurants and bars, were up about 3%. That certainly suggests that the impact of the Delta Variant hasn’t yet been felt. Cooler fall temperatures will be the real test since they will curtail the ability of diners and drinkers to sit outside in the open air.
Although it’s hard, in my opinion, to read a trend in these numbers today the market is selling down everything consumer. Macy’s (M) is down 3.38% as of the close in New York, Wyndham Hotels (WH) is off 2.29%. Six Flags (SIX) has dropped 4.36%. Disney (DIS) is lower by 1.82%. MGM Resorts (MGM) is down 3.78%. And even Amazon (AMZN) has retreated 1.73%.
The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY) has lost 2.37%.
The Russell 2000 is the biggest loser among U.S. indexes with a drop of 1.19% as of the close in New York time. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) has dropped 1.83%.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 is lower by 0.71% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 0.79%. The NASDAQ Composite has given up 0.93% and the NASDAQ 100 is off 0.91%.
Hedging action has picked up today with the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) up 11.10% to 17.91.