Trade war or not, analyst Nick Colas worries that consumer spending will dangerously weaken and hurt stocks

Consumers may be opening up their wallets wide right now, but a long-time Wall Street researcher warns strong spending is on borrowed time.

DataTrek Research co-founder Nicholas Colas predicts it's on the verge of dangerously weakening due to tariff risks — a situation that could ultimately push stocks much lower.

"That trade war issue ... really is top of mind for me," he said this week on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Colas cites low unemployment as the main reason why Americans have felt so good about spending money. The latest monthly reading put the unemployment rate at 3.8 percent.

"So far, employers [and] companies have not really thought about the effect of trade wars in context of capital budgeting, capital planning, hiring," Colas said.

Colas believes President Donald Trump's tariff threats have already harmed corporate America by leaving companies no choice but to re-assess their business plans whether a trade war happens or not.

He expects companies to begin scaling back hiring and capital-expense spending in coming months to address uncertainty. Once that happens, he said, the employment rate will inevitably tick up and consumers will tighten their purse strings out of fear.

"That’s the beginning of the economy rolling over, and with that stocks," Colas said.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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