Economists are saying that when it comes to saving the economy, consumer spending just won't do the trick. According to CNBC, economists say this one-time driving force of GDP growth is expected to remain stagnant as households struggle to cut their debt and build savings.
Consumer spending is an important indicator of economic growth as it makes up 70% of U.S. GDP. In the current economic climate, economists argue that until personal debt is cleared away, spending is unlikely to increase. And it will be even later when strong and steady consumer spending is a reliable factor for accelerating economic growth. Until that point decreased consumer spending will continue to serve as a hindrance to development.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports consumer spending was down 2% last year following a 2.8% drop in 2009. The usual suspects are at play: unemployment, market volatility, uncertain future, and higher commodity prices. To the curious anticipation of many, the Commerce Department will report consumer-spending numbers for August on Friday.
Heavy debate has risen on the government's role in addressing the debt issue and stimulating spending. Those in favor of government action suggest the government should provide debt relief to repair consumers' balance sheets. Others argue that the government should allow the debt/savings balance to run its course because consumers are more likely to save than spend government funding in anticipation of higher taxes.
Either way, all are aware of the threats that impaired spending poses to the economy. The question remains, what actions will propel consumer spending growth and how long it will take to see results?
Economists may be gloomy about the outlook for consumer spending, but we've found some evidence that company executives differ in their opinions.
Below, we list seven consumer stocks that have seen significant insider buying over the last six months.
Insiders don't seem to be too concerned about the outlooks of their employers -- does this signal a buy opportunity?
List sorted alphabetically. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)
1. American Eagle Outfitters (NYS: AEO) : Operates as an apparel and accessories retailer in the United States and Canada. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 579,634 shares, which represents about 0.32% of the company's 179.59M share float.
2. Charming Shoppes (NAS: CHRS) : Operates as a specialty apparel retailer primarily for women in the United States. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 35,000 shares, which represents about 0.03% of the company's 101.61M share float.
3. Carter's (NYS: CRI) : Designs, sources, and markets branded children's wear. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 1,763,600 shares, which represents about 3.61% of the company's 48.80M share float.
4. Hot Topic (NAS: HOTT) : Operates as a mall- and Web-based specialty retailer in the United States. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 40,000 shares, which represents about 0.1% of the company's 40.91M share float.
5. Collective Brands (NYS: PSS) : Engages in the wholesale and retail of footwear and related accessories worldwide. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 20,139 shares, which represents about 0.04% of the company's 55.24M share float.
6. Pacific Sunwear of California (NAS: PSUN) : Operates as a retailer rooted in the action sports, fashion, and music influences of the California lifestyle. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 10,327,071 shares, which represents about 28.8% of the company's 35.86M share float.
7. Saks (NYS: SKS) : Operates fashion retail stores in the United States. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 4,696,280 shares, which represents about 4.48% of the company's 104.74M share float.
Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Rebecca Lipman do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.
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