Consumer Cos Up as Gap Brings Holiday-Season Optimism — Consumer Roundup

November 18th, 2023

Consumer companies rose amid optimism about holiday-season sales.

Gap shares rallied after the chain store posted third-quarter earnings more than three times the number analysts had penciled in.

Shares of BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings fell sharply after the membership-based warehouse retailer reported a surprise dip in fiscal third-quarter same-store sales and cut its full-year growth projection.

“Consumers are in decent shape heading into the holiday season,” said Bill Adams, chief economist at brokerage Comerica Bank. “Most people who want jobs have them, and Americans are confident about their job prospects in 2024.”

Housing starts, a measure of U.S. homebuilding, rose 1.9% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.372 million. Applications for permits, an indicator of home-builders’ impressions of demand, also rose. “Despite deepening concerns over the strength of the consumers’ overall ability to remain resilient despite higher interest rates, builders are ramping up construction as they expect mortgage rates to continue leveling off,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at brokerage LPL Financial. “Today’s reports suggest that builders do not expect an impending recession.”

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