Talking Numbers

Why shoppers could have billions more to spend this Christmas

Why shoppers could have billions more to spend this Christmas

Lower gas prices may give a big gift to consumers this holiday season. That could translate to great news for retailers – and their stocks.

According to a study by Macquarie Research, if gasoline prices stay at current levels, that will be the equivalent of $100 more in the pocket of each consumer in 2014. "We find this could provide a boost of more than $40 billion to annualized real consumer spending with 4Q14 having the potential to boost holiday sales at retailers," writes Macquarie's Laurent Vasilescu.

All this comes just in the nick of time for retailers. September retail sales were reported down 0.3 percent comparedwith August (though up 4.3 percent from September 2013).

But with gasoline prices now at four-year lows, will this really be a happy holiday season for retail stocks?

(Read: Holidays to separate retail winners from the losers)

One CNBC contributor is wary about how much benefit retailers will from cheaper prices at the pump.

"Some retailers are just having a hard time getting inventory out of ports and into the shelves," said Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global. "Those things are going to be headwinds for earnings for retailers."

In the meantime, Sanchez is in a wait-and-see mode when it comes to the retailers. "Consumers are being very cautious right now," she said. "They are saving more than they are spending."

However, retailer stocks are already getting a lift because of lower gas prices, according to CNBC contributor Todd Gordon, founder of He sees the ETF tracking the retail sector (trading under the ticker symbol RTH) as moving higher on the back of lower oil.

(See: CNBC's Retail coverage)

"Energy [prices] started to break down at about August and we've seen a nice boost in the RTH relative to the broader markets," said Gordon. "We are in fact seeing retailers pick up from more change in consumers' pockets."

Cheaper gas may be just what the RTH's charts need to fuel a boost to Gordon's target of $68.61. The ETF closed at $65.74 on Friday.

Looking at a chart of the RTH, Gordon sees the ETF as having made a rally in October equal in size to its summer rally. He believes that sets the stage for a third rally.

"In technical trading, that middle real breakout level that we're seeing should be longer than the initial breakout that we saw in August," Gordon said. "That is an upside objective of about $68. If we can hold $65 and get up to $68, technically speaking that is a clean breakout and retailers look strong on the upside."

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