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Walmart, Nvidia earnings, retail sales — What to know in markets Thursday

Heidi Chung

It’s been a wild week for markets. On Thursday, investors will be looking to some key earnings reports and economic data being released for more clues on the health of the economy.

Retail behemoth Walmart (WMT) and chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) will deliver quarterly results, and the Census Bureau will release retail sales data for July at 8:30 a.m. ET.

As other parts of the economy, such as manufacturing, get hit by the trade war, consumer spending has remained a bright spot and the main driver of GDP growth in the U.S.

“Aside from a decline in February, retail sales have increased every month so far this year. That’s consistent with the elevated confidence data and suggests consumers remain comfortable with their spending habits despite increased risks to the outlook,” according to Wells Fargo. “As long as the labor market remains healthy, this positive consumer spending trend should continue.”

However, the main question now is whether or not consumers will be able to continue doing the heavy lifting as the U.S. looks to impose more tariffs on Chinese imports September 1 and December 15.

Meanwhile on the earnings front, Walmart is set to release quarterly results ahead of the market open, and Nvidia is gearing up to report after the closing bell.

Walmart has been thrust into the spotlight recently on criticism of its gun sales and concerns over looming tariffs. Nevertheless, the retailer is expected to continue its strong momentum. Wall Street analysts are expecting the company to report same-store sales that are at least in-line with estimates and boost its fiscal 2020 outlook.

Same-store sales, a key industry metric, is expected to have grown 2.4% versus 4.5% growth in the same period last year. Improved operations and lower prices are expected to have boosted sales growth during the second quarter.

Online sales has been a bright spot for Walmart, as the company continues to bet on the e-commerce space. In the first quarter, online sales grew by 37% and was boosted by its home and fashion businesses.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect Walmart to report adjusted earnings of $1.22 per share on $130.08 billion in revenue.

Investors will shift their focus to Nvidia after the bell when the chipmaker reports second quarter financial results.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have rocked the chip stocks this week, and Nvidia shares have fallen 2.67% as of Wednesday’s close. Nvidia’s report will be closely monitored for any commentary from management on whether or not the company will see a negative impact from the escalating trade war.

A bright spot for Nvidia, the PC gaming segment faces hurdles due to China’s macroeconomic weakness and rising competition from rival Advanced Micro Devices. Investors will likely be paying close attention to how that specific segment of Nvidia’s business performed during the quarter.

Nvidia is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.14 per share on $2.54 billion in revenue during the quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The options market is implying a 7.8% move in either direction following the chipmaker’s report.

Other notable earnings announcement scheduled for Thursday include Alibaba (BABA), JCPenney (JCP), Tapestry (TPR) before market open; Applied Materials (AMAT) after market close.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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