Retail

Q3 GDP expected above 2% after hot retail sales report

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Atlanta Fed raised its GDPNow forecast to 2.2% for the third quarter — higher than many economists are predicting, but well below enough to bring 2019's growth to the 3%-4% President Trump has sought.

Why it matters: The bump came after U.S. retail sales surged above expectations in July and sales at retailers including Amazon and Best Buy posted their biggest increase in 4 months. A strong earnings report from Walmart also helped drive optimism that American consumers are still shopping and perhaps are confident enough to carry the economy through trade war tensions.

Go deeper: Store closures don't mean retail is dead

Strong U.S. consumer spending in July defies other recession warnings

U.S. consumers spent more in July than economists expected, the federal government said on Thursday, as retail sales rose 0.7% vs. the 0.3% estimated. Excluding automobile sales, a more volatile component, retail sales rose 1% — double what economists anticipated.

Why it matters: Consumers were largely unfazed by the increasing economic uncertainty in July, defying other indicators that point to a global slowdown or recession. The data also comes as Walmart, one of the world’s biggest retailers, posted strong financials for its most recent quarter.