Major U.S. retailers gave investors at least a little reason for financial optimism in closely watched earnings reports Tuesday. TUESDAY: How markets are doing EARLIER: Retail reports show consumer pulse MONDAY: Dow in 4-day losing streakBut the news was tempered by reports of a continuing difficult sales climate — and with wider losses and plunging stock prices at bookseller Barnes & Noble.The range of results from strong to weak reflect the mixed data in the government’s reports on retail sales in recent months, said Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight. People living paycheck to paycheck are watching their spending carefully, which is showing up in weaker results for stores where they shop, but retailers who cater to more affluent customers are doing well.Upscale retailer Nordstrom last week reported a 4.4% increase in same-store sales for the second quarter while Wal-Mart’s same-store sales were down 0.3%.“You definitely see a bifurcation,” Christopher said. “I know consumers are not using the credit cards as much. There’s a cautiousness in the American consumer that will be there a few more years. They’re cautious and they’re always looking for a good deal.”Spending is also suppressed by the weak income growth that… Read full this story
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