Consumer Confidence, Gold, & Dow 30K

Consumer Confidence for October came in below expectations at 96.1. This is down -4.8% from the prior month and down -23.4% year over year. Not surprising, given the current employment picture, rising COVID cases, and election uncertainty. It will be interesting to see November's numbers given the progress on treatments and the elimination of election uncertainty. I suspect, much like small business optimism, there will be a pickup in confidence in future reports.

Overall, consumer numbers have surprised me with their resilience. I, along with many others, was expecting more of a slowdown given the runoff of employment assistance and general employment backdrop under COVID.

We had a slew of retail earnings last week, and for the most part, they were solid. Some comments that stood out:

“The consumer economy has, I think, outperformed everyone’s expectations…The economy, I think, is resilient. The economy was relatively strong going in. And I think we’re – hopefully, we get back to where we were soon.” – CSX (CSX) CEO James Foote

“Walmart U.S. had another strong quarter. Comp sales increased 6.4%…Consistent with the second quarter, we saw customers consolidate shopping trips with larger baskets and fewer transactions.” – Walmart (WMT) CEO Doug McMillon

“Third quarter comparable sales increased 20.7%, reflecting a 4.5% traffic growth, combined with an increase in average ticket of more than 15%. Since the pandemic began in March, we’ve experienced a meaningful acceleration in basket growth, both in stores and online as guests have consolidated their shopping into much larger trips. Across channels, our store comps grew nearly 10%, while our digital comp sales grew 155%, contributing nearly 11 percentage points to the Company comp.” – Target (TGT) CEO Brian Cornell

“our third-quarter digital sales grew more than $2 billion compared with last year. For perspective, $2 billion is more than our company’s total digital sales for the entire year in 2014. Somehow, I think I should pause for a second and let that sink in” – Target Corporation (TGT) CEO Brian Cornell

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