This article originally appeared at 08:02 ET on Thursday on Real Money, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Brian Sozzi and other writers even earlier in the trading day.
President Trump's big cash giveaway better get passed soon, or the economy's biggest driver -- the consumer -- may negatively shock the hell out of many overvalued publicly traded companies this year.
While earnings season for big, multinational companies has been fine thus far, thanks to ungodly sums of money spent on stock buybacks, aggressive cost cuts and the easing of the dollar, an emerging theme is how rough a shape the U.S. consumer is in, entering the summer.
Procter & Gamble's (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report CFO Jon Moeller told TheStreet on Wednesday that a big contributor to its sluggish results were delayed tax refunds. It's a factor that weighed on first-quarter results at other consumer companies such as PepsiCo (PEP) - Get PepsiCo, Inc. Report , Unilever (UL) - Get Unilever PLC Sponsored ADR Report and Foot Locker (FL) - Get Foot Locker, Inc. Report , too.
"It's a big deal for lower income consumers," Moeller said, adding that sales improved in March as tax checks started to hit accounts. His response was to a question I asked on how big an impact are delayed tax refunds to buying cheap soap -- clearly I was skeptical, this is the type of excuse for a weak quarter that has always riled me up.
But, it's something that also hurt PepsiCo, which had a decent quarter.
"We saw it in the numbers. The early quarter numbers clearly were lower from a growth perspective. Once we got past February 15, we really saw the numbers pick up," PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston told TheStreet.
The commentary is on the disturbing side, seeing as the stock market may never go down again (ever) and consumer confidence remains high. People are buying houses, remodeling them, and flipping them for double the price again. Yet, there is a large subset of the population dying out there due to rising household expenses. For them, a Trump tax plan -- whether in the form of lower taxes or a trickle-down effect -- is badly needed.
Get to work, Congress.
Read This Or Lose Out
Much left to be desired from Under Armour: Shares of Under Armour (UAA) - Get Under Armour, Inc. Class A Report exploded in response to a better-than-expected first quarter, but the results are hardly cause for celebration. Of particular concern to the bulls should be the dramatic slowdown in footwear sales growth, reportsTheStreet. Sales of Stephen Curry basketball sneakers have been key to the Under Armour story for more than two years, but as they cool it's a concern.
An NBA owner got in the face of a referee, which is great: Nothing wrong with showing some passion, in my books. Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander was fined $100,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for "confronting a referee during live game action." Sure, Alexander shouldn't have done it (see video below), but it's wonderful theater and gives me something to write about. So, thank you, Les.
Another big blow to energy drink makers: Energy drinks are trash and probably shouldn't be sold basically sums up a new study published in the Journal of the American HeartAssociation. Sales of energy drinks, despite repeated health warnings, have continued to be a bright spot for soda makers such as Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report and energy drink king Monster Beverage (MNST) - Get Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST) Report . But as data continue to mount on the impact of energy drinks, one has to think the sector is due for a longer term slowdown.
Here's what $83 million worth of cars looks like: Aston Martin took 28 of its most storied models and put them on display inside a new building it's erecting in England. If you were ever curious on what $83 million worth of classic cars looks like in one confined area, watch the below video. Hat tipMotor Authority.
Finally got my hands on these sneakers: What, your sneakers don't tie by themselves and have a cool magnetic charger? What you see below are Nike's (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. (NKE) Report first-ever self-tying sneakers that were released a few months ago. I managed to get my hands on them for a few days, so stay tuned on a review. But right from the get go, I can see where Nike is going here with these sneakers -- to some extent, this is the future.
Editor's Pick: Originally published April 27.
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