Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Real Money on July 30. Sign up for a free trial of Real Money.
I love earnings calls almost as much as I love caffeine. Sick, I know. However, I am receiving perspectives from executives in interviews I am doing for TheStreet that are different from those gleaned from earnings calls.
Here are a couple of direct quotes from top executives. Some go a long way to support Tuesday's rosy consumer confidence measure. Others suggest that the U.S. economy stinks and that various data points mask what's really happening with people across the country.
Ongoing Starbucks (SBUX) store makeovers are rooted in having an "acute awareness of the customer" and are designed in a way that "evokes the spirit of the community." Those investments in design are paying off, as seen in 11 straight quarters of U.S. same-store sales increases and a higher profit margin baseline. Person interviewed: Starbucks vice president of design for the Americas, Bill Sleeth
And here are comments that Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) CEO Kevin Sheehan shared with me in an interview: "I think what you find is that people, they see the brands they know, and then are more comfortable, then they engage, and hopefully while they are having a good time, spend a little more." His comments are supported in the company's latest financial results, where on-board revenue surged 22%. The results themselves demonstrate how the wealthy continue to get wealthier amid the improvement in the stock market. I suppose the employees get wealthier too, as the wealthy spend on board the ships.