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[video] Quick Take: The American Consumer, Strapped for Cash

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- All three major U.S. stock indices are higher on Tuesday, but concerns are mounting over the American consumer's spending. TheStreet's Joya Doss spoke to Keith Bliss, senior vice president of Cuttone & Company, about the implications of lower consumer spending. 

Bliss said that weather has helped soften the blow on weaker-than-expected corporate earnings and economic data. To some degree, the weather has certainly impacted those two events, he said. But to what degree? 

Consumers are less likely to head to the mall when the weather is poor, but it doesn't explain why online sales are down as well. Bliss argues that after a strong holiday season, U.S. consumers are simply tapped out at the moment. 

He added that wage growth has been virtually nonexistent in the past four years, which isn't helping the cash-strapped consumer in spending.

Housing data have not been as impressive either. Bliss noted that housing starts are down, which can be attributed to the weather, but permits were also lower. The lower permit applications is concerning because it indicates that homebuilders are less optimistic in the coming months. 

In an economy where 70% of the GDP is made up of consumer spending, it concerns him that a slowdown could have a severe trickle-down effect.

-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter.

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