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The Transcript Podcast
Consumer Spending Still Strong

Consumer Spending Still Strong

Episode 109

In this episode, we examine the state of the consumer and analyze macro takeaways from earnings calls ahead of the Fed meeting this week.

The episode is based on yesterday's newsletter which is available on Substack.

A transcript of this podcast, with relevant images and quotes, is available for all subscribers after the show notes below. Our podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music.

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Show Notes

00:00:00 Introduction

00:00:35 The Consumer Is Still Very, Very Strong

00:01:40 Excess Savings Are Starting To Run Out

00:02:17 There Is No Landing

00:03:08 2024 U.S. Elections


[00:00:00] Scott: Hi, everyone. Welcome to a new episode of the transcript podcast. You've got me, Scott Krisiloff, along with Erick Mokaya. We are back to podcasting today, trying to get back in the groove. I know it's been a little while since we've had a podcast and we've been less consistent than we used to be, but trying to get back in a consistent space for the end of this year and into next year.

And so what we saw last week was Visa and Amex. Both were speaking at conferences, and both of them said that consumer spending is still very strong. Both of them said the same thing.

The Consumer Is Still Very, Very Strong

And so that was a little bit surprising because not only have we seen, consumers starting to get weaker and weaker over the last few weeks, but it seems even this week in other calls like Dollar General and Lowe's also were saying that their customers were under some pressure.

And so I think maybe the takeaway for me is that at least the low-income consumer, continues to be under a lot of pressure and then also interest rates sensitive sectors like housing, maybe seeing a little bit more pressure than other sectors.

Whereas places where consumers would spend on credit cards. Like travel entertainment things like that still doing very well Eric any takeaways from you?

[00:01:18] Mokaya: Did you feel that people are living on credits going into the new year? It's been the story of the year, to say the least. For the consumer is very strong where we expect them to weaken But then these are companies that kind of deal with the platforms. So I don't know like the real takeaway is that the low-income consumer is pressured as you can see from the retailers.

Excess Savings Are Starting To Run Out

And then something else that excess savings are starting to run out, but then this has been predicted for a long while to run out I don't know where consumers are getting extra cash from to keep spending up.

But the good thing at least is that inflation is subsiding, and that's a good thing, and interest rates are especially some of the interest rate sensitive sectors are moving down slightly, so they're getting a little boost from that. That's like the high-level takeaway.

So it feels like everything is steadily okay, but it's steadily okay to the extent that some most people expect it to crack at some point. Do you feel like that's a good characterization of the earnings call so far?

There Is No Landing

[00:02:17] Scott: Yeah I think the headline for today's piece was that There's no landing.

And that came from an S and P global call in which the CEO was talking about; Is it going to be a hard laugh landing or a soft landing? And he said, the reality is still no landing at all this year, meaning in a good way that the economy hasn't really slowed down, that there's still been strong consumption growth, strong job growth, and the landing, so to speak that everyone has been

looking for almost two years, if not two years now hasn't come to fruition. But on the flip side, you see these areas where there are weaknesses, like in consumer electronics markets where it looked like things were getting better and then they seem to be softening again. So not sure where to make all of that.

2024 U.S. Elections

[00:03:08] Mokaya: It's very confusing data leading into 2024, and then there's general elections in the us. I don't know how much of a factor that is usually in terms of earnings and all, but like it's a factor that investors have to consider going into next year. Globally, looks like China has not recovered to the same extent that people wanted. People are very bullish at the beginning of the year, it seems like it's starting to sink in that it may take a little bit longer than expected. And then if you look at the Eurozone itself very sluggish growth going into next year.

The U. S. is doing a bit better than most economies, but then there's an election next year. So I don't know what to take away from that in terms of our investors being concerned that the election factor Will be a key factor going into next year, though.

[00:03:53] Scott: Yeah, it certainly could be. The policy element that's still the biggest impact on markets, as we know, is the Federal Reserve policy.

And I think that is the big swing factor right now in terms of why markets are feeling more buoyant and optimistic: inflation has come down. The Federal Reserve is signaling that there doesn't need to be more interest rate increases, and I think that investors are starting to anticipate interest rate decreases which would be letting off the lid on the economy that the Federal Reserve has put on it since inflation started again a couple of years ago.

Three years ago now. And if the Federal Reserve does start to lower interest rates, obviously, Yeah. That would be a big boost to the economy.

[00:04:42] Mokaya: And, this is the last definitely, and this is the last week of the year in terms of the Fed week, this is the week they're supposed to give us where interest rates are going for the next. I would expect that they will be holding going into next year, give people a bit of a cool holiday period, and check again next year.

Any other takeaways from the earnings?

[00:05:05] Scott: No, just, it'll be light now through the end of the year, obviously fed week this week, but besides that, I don't know if we'll do another podcast before the end of the year. So everybody have a happy holiday and see everyone in the new year.

[00:05:20] Mokaya: Definitely. And please don't forget to subscribe. I wish you could give someone a gift, the transcript gift as a gift for the, uh, Christmas and the new year. We always collect the best in terms of, quotes for learning schools and we are right here every week to analyze them so make sure to give it as a gift and to keep subscribing to us and become a premium subscriber to definitely support our content and to also get access to really good content.

See you in the new year then if you don't manage to do an episode before Thank you so much from me and Scott.

See you soon again.


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