Retail sales in focus this week

|By:, SA News Editor

Earnings reports this week from Wal-Mart (WMT +0.6%), Nordstrom (JWN +1.9%), and Macy's (M -0.9%) have heightened importance due to the storm clouds which seem to be gathering over consumer spending for the second half of the year.

What to watch: Wal-Mart's forecast for Q2 same-store sales is fairly wide at 0% to 2%, a dip into negative territory could turn sentiment south in a hurry. The word "promotional" could spook investors of Macy's and Nordstrom, while commentary from all three retailers on early back-to-school sales trends will be critical for sentiment sector-wide.

Related ETFs: XRT, RTH, PMR, RETL