Retail stocks will be in focus Thursday as chain stores will report comparable store sales for May, which are expected to show the consumer is still struggling as weak economic conditions persist.
The monthly results will come in fast and furious ahead of the opening bell, and the outlook isn't rosy. Only eight of 30 retailers are expected to report growth in May sales at stores open at least a year, according to Thomson Reuters. Same-store sales are expected to fall 4% last month from a year earlier, Thomson Reuters said. By comparison, same-store sales rose 1.1% in May 2008.
will be absent from the fury on Thursday, though. Last month,
said it would no longer report sales on a monthly basis. Instead, Wal-Mart said it will provide comparable-store sales results on a 13-week basis, along with guidance for the upcoming quarter.
That leaves rival
among the biggest retail names to watch.
disappointed market observers after it
in May same-store sales, missing expectations of a 2.2% rise.
On the economic front, weekly initial jobless claims data and a revised reading first-quarter productivity and unit labor costs will come due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Initial claims are expected to have declined to 620,000 last week from 623,000 the week before. First-quarter productivity should be revised to 1.2% from an earlier reading of 0.8%. Unit labor costs should be revised to 2.9% from 3.3%.
In other economic news, the European Central Bank will meet to discuss interest rates. Both the Bank of England and Canada's central bank are also expected to make interest rate announcements.
There is little in the way of earnings reports Thursday.
is set to release quarterly results in the morning, while
are scheduled to report after the closing bell.