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Retail earnings, personal income — What you need to know in markets on Thursday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

Stocks continued their rally on Wednesday.

Each of the major U.S. indexes rose Wednesday as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit records with the benchmark S&P closing above 2,900 for the first time.

Tech stocks paced gains on Wednesday with the Nasdaq adding just under 1% to close at 8,109, the S&P 500 rising 16 points, or 0.6%, to close at 2,914.04, and the Dow adding 60 points, or 0.2%, to close at 26,124.

Wednesday’s rally wasn’t catalyzed by clear trade headlines like we saw Monday, though investors did get stronger-than-expected GDP growth data in the morning that showed the economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.2% in the second quarter.

Analysts at Bespoke Investment Group noted Wednesday that if one strips out inventories from GDP growth, the second quarter was the strongest for economic growth since the first quarter of 2006.

And although some analysts and economists have argued that recent GDP numbers are inflated as consumers pull-forward spending ahead of anticipated price increases from tariffs, Neil Dutta at Renaissance Macro explained on Yahoo Finance’s daily live show The Final Round on Wednesday that this story is not really backed up by the data.

“Most of the upside in the consumer spending numbers was in restaurants, clothing, things not really effected by tariffs,” Dutta said. “A consumer is not going [to say], ‘Hey, let me go to the Cheesecake Factory to beat all these tariffs that are coming.'”

Dutta added that with consumer confidence elevated amid a strong labor market, the consumer — and by extension the broader U.S. economic outlook — remains solid. “The bears are stretching,” Dutta said, referencing economists or analysts looking for signs of a weakening economy. “It’s sort of embarrassing.”

On Thursday, investors will get more data on the state of the U.S. consumer with personal income and spending data for July set for release. Economists expect both these figures to rise 0.4% over the prior month according to estimates from Bloomberg.

The Fed’s preferred inflation reading, “core” PCE, is also set for release in the morning and should show a 2.3% increase over the same month last year.

In this Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, photo Mark Vega, 7, left, looks inside his family’s cart as parents Frankie Vega, center, and Kimberly Vega, right, shop at a Kohl’s store in Concord, N.C. Many kinds of chains have posted strong sales, both online and at stores. A booming economy, which has shoppers spending more freely, and companies’ own efforts in trying to Amazon-proof their business is driving people’s mood to spend. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

And on the earnings side things will continue to be retail-heavy, with notable companies reporting Thursday expected to include Kroger (KR), Dollar General (DG), Dollar Tree (DLTR), and Ulta Beauty (ULTA) from the S&P 500. Other retailers reporting results are scheduled to include Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Sears (SHLD), and Perry Ellis (PERY).

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland