The higher the credit card spending, the better for retailers.
That's the drift of the Conference Board's Joseph Minarik.
"We will see optimism in the retail sector," Minarik, senior vice president and director or research for the Conference Board's Committee for Economic Development, told TheStreet on Friday, July 13. He said retailers could experience upswings in the second quarter due to more credit card spending.
In JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s (JPM) - Get Reportsecond-quarter 2018 earnings report released on Friday, the consumer and community banking's division saw net revenue rise 6% from the year-ago quarter to $5 billion for card, merchant services and auto. The bank attributed the increases to lower card acquisition costs, higher card net interest income on margin expansion and loan growth, and higher auto lease volumes.
JPMorgan is a key holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS.
Minarik said the Federal Reserve's preliminary view of May is that credit card spending is up 7.6% compared with 3.2% in April. "7.6% is large but not over the moon," he added.
More telling numbers are those for revolving credit, the line of credit used by credit card companies. "In April, revolving credit had grown 1.3% and in May it was 11.4%," he said. "That suggests consumers see a significant opportunity to spend money and have the confidence to do it."
Also helping is low unemployment. The latest number, released on July 6 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that only 4% of Americans are unemployed.
"Employment numbers and credit are singing the same tune," added Minarik. And that's a tune retailers are happy to hum along to.