U.S. Economy Is Probably Limping Along Because of Frustrating Consumers: Week Ahead
U.S. economy is struggling a bit.

Wall Street will get its first glimpse of how the U.S. economy performed during the second quarter in the coming week.

And, again, it could show an economy merely limping along.

"I think it's going to come in as more of the dreary same," Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America, told TheStreet. North targets growth in the second quarter of roughly 2% to 2.5%.

FactSet estimates show second-quarter GDP growth of 2.4% after a reading of 2.1% in the first quarter. The first estimate of economic growth from April to June will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday, July 28.

The cause of a lethargic economy is the consumers' reluctance to spend even as confidence remains relatively high, explained North.

"The consumer is so frustrating in the sense that the consumer expresses continued confidence and exuberance and yet fails to act on it," he said.

Retail sales in the U.S. fell in two of the three months of the second quarter. Sales declined by 0.1% and 0.2% in May and June, respectively, while rising by 0.3% in April. Meanwhile, consumer confidence showed a surprise increase in June with a measure on current conditions near a 16-year high.

Economists expect confidence to begin to falter, though, as gridlock in Washington eats away at hopes for President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda. Expectations have taken a hit in recent weeks after the Senate GOP failed to push through a repeal-and-replace healthcare bill it had been championing for more than seven years.

"There's no wonder people aren't spending," added North. "They're hopeful but why are they going to spend when nothing has happened? Especially when you have the House, the Senate, and the presidency and nothing has happened on the agenda yet."

Consumer confidence for July will be released on Tuesday, July 25, at 10 a.m. Economists' estimates compiled by FactSet show that confidence is expected to take a nearly three-point hit to fall to 116.

The Federal Reserve will convene this week with an announcement on monetary policy scheduled for Wednesday, July 26. Economists don't expect the central bank to make a change to interest rates, though investors will comb through the statement to discern when the Fed could begin to unwind its balance sheet. Most Fed watchers anticipate that process to begin at the September meeting.

Also on the economic calendar in the coming week: Flash composite PMI for July and existing home sales for June will be released on Monday, July 24; the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller home price index for May on Tuesday; new home sales for June on Wednesday; durable goods orders and international trade in goods for June on Thursday, July 27; and the Employment Cost Index for the second quarter, and the final reading on consumer sentiment for July on Friday.

The earnings season speeds on at a relentless pace in the coming week with a large chunk of companies in the S&P 500 set to report on their recent three-month performance. Nearly one-fifth of S&P 500 companies have reported on the second quarter so far this reporting season. Of those, 74.2% have exceeded earnings estimates, while 72.7% have topped revenue forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Some of the most notable earnings in the coming week include Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) out on Monday; General Motors (GM) , McDonald's Corp. (MCD)  and DuPont (DD) on Tuesday; Boeing (BA) , Facebook Inc. (FB) , Ford Motor Co. (F)  and Whole Foods Market (WFM) on Wednesday; and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , Twitter Inc. (TWTR) , Starbucks Corp. (SBUX)  and Intel Corp. (INTC) on Thursday.

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Other consumer and tech earnings of note include Hasbro Inc. (HAS)  and VF Corp. (VFC) on Monday; Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) , Kimberly-Clark (KMB) , Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) , JetBlue Airways (JBLU)  and Seagate Tech (STX) on Tuesday; Hershey Co. (HSY) , Imax Corp. (IMAX) , Coca-Cola (KO)  and Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) on Wednesday; Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) , Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) , Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) , Expedia Inc. (EXPE) , United Parcel Services (UPS) , Western Digital (WDC) , Mattel Inc. (MAT) , MasterCard Inc. (MA) , Southwest Airlines Co.  (LUV)  and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV  (FCAU) on Thursday.

Southwest Airlines and Western Digital are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells LUV or WDC? Learn more now.

Telecom and media companies to release earnings include AT&T Inc. (T) on Tuesday; and Charter Communications (CHTR) , Verizon Communications (VZ) , Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) on Thursday.

Comcast is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells CMCSA? Learn more now.

Industrials and oil earnings include Halliburton Co. (HAL)  and Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK) on Monday; 3M Co. (MMM) , AK Steel Holdings (AKS) , Caterpillar Inc. (CAT)  and United States Steel (X) on Tuesday; Barrick Gold (ABX)  and Hess Corp. (HES) on Wednesday; ConocoPhillips (COP) , Dow Chemical (DOW) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , Statoil (STO) , Total (TOT)  and Vale (VALE) on Thursday; and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)  and Chevron Corp. (CVX) on Friday.

Dow Chemical is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells DOW? Learn more now.

Healthcare earnings include Amgen Inc. (AMGN) , Biogen Inc. (BIIB) , Express Scripts (ESRX)  and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) on Tuesday; Anthem Inc. (ANTM) , Baxter International (BAX) , Gilead Sciences (GILD) , Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX)  and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on Wednesday; AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) , Bristol-Myers (BMY) , Celgene (CELG) , Procter & Gamble (PG) on Thursday; and AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) , Immunogen Inc. (IMGN)  and Merck & Co. (MRK) on Friday.

Eli Lilly and AbbVie are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells LLY or ABBV? Learn more now.

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