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Weekly E-Letter 8/18/2017 — Consumers Are Doing Fine

I have something to confess.

There are times when I find myself reading another person’s thoughts and opinions and I find myself thinking ‘This guy’s a genius!’ only to realize that maybe it is just because he and I think alike that I am so dazzled by his wisdom. Fortunately, most of the time that I have these experiences, it’s actually because we are so fortunate to have some truly brilliant colleagues in the world of finance.

A couple of these shining lights are Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein, Chief Economist and Deputy Chief Economist respectively at First Trust Portfolios. This week they provided a good overview of the state of consumer behavior, its effects on the economy and markets and also how that same consumer behavior is viewed and interpreted by the business press (which of course includes, cable financial news and the leading financial information websites). With their kind permission, I include their commentary here:

It’s hard to read the business pages or watch the business news without seeing a story about the death of the consumer.  In particular, the business press continues to be obsessed by relative weakness among traditional brick and mortar stores.

There’s no denying that the business model for delivering goods and services to consumers is changing fast.  But that doesn’t mean the consumer, or retail in particular, is dead. Far from it.       

– Read more …