Tuesday's retail sales should be an important check up on consumers and could show they are picking up their pace of spending.
Retail sales are expected to be up 0.3 percent, and 0.4 percent when autos are not included, compared to 0.4 percent in June, or 0.1 percent excluding autos. The number is reported at 8:30 a.m. ET. as are import prices. The NFIB small business survey is released at 7:30 a.m. and business inventories are reported at 10 a.m.
"The core measures were quite weak in June. I found that a little bit curious at the time because some of the anecdotes you heard out of retailers were much better," said Barry Knapp, head of equity portfolio strategy at Barclays. "I wouldn't be surprised to see that get revised up. June was kind of a funny month because we had weather issues around the country. Generally speaking , my impression is consumer spending has held up really well in spite of all the tax cuts."
Citigroup economists expect to see core retail sales, up 0.4 percent, accelerating at the fastest pace since the end of last year. "Core retail sales appear to have accelerated in the month, as suggested by the recently reported gains in same-store-sales," Citigroup chief economist Robert DiClemente wrote in a note. "Restaurant receipts fell in May and June, but at the same time employment in that sector expanded and sector specific surveys picked up. We suspect there will be a correction in restaurant sales, but whether it comes as a rise in July, or upward revisions to back months is unclear."