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The Week Ahead: Fed Rate Cut, EU Tariffs

With the mid-way point of summer approaching, it’s still unclear whether a Federal Reserve rate cut could still happen when the FOMC meets at the end of the month.

While back-to-school sales are in full swing as retailers use competing Amazon Prime Day-centered promotions to clear out inventory, most of the apparel sales are expected to occur next month and in early September when the full lines of fall merchandise are set up on the sales floor.

And as for trade wars and tariffs, those issues remain in “pending” mode, as the global landscape awaits news on how talks progress between the U.S. and China on their dispute.

Also on the horizon is the timing of the U.S.’s planned $7 billion in tariffs on European Union imports, which is expected to be determined following an arbitrator’s decision on damages connected to a dispute over certain subsidies. That decision is expected to be handed down in the coming weeks.

FOMC: Consumer sentiment in the U.S. continues to hold steady, with the July preliminary reading from the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey for July inching up slightly to 98.4 from 98.2. This week also saw an increase in the U.S. retail sales report for June this week, with both indicators suggesting that the consumer is confident and still in spending mode.

That’s good for the retail sector, even though it plays a smaller role in the decision on a rate cut as the Fed is more concerned about business confidence.

So far, the equity markets have been rising as expectations grow that the Fed would cut rates later this month to incentivize businesses to borrow for expansion and, in turn, keep the economy humming along.

Earnings: VF Corp.’s first-quarter results will be announced on Wednesday and Columbia Sportswear is expected to release second-quarter results on Thursday.

Events: A number of different trade shows (all in Manhattan) are scheduled for next week, with Javits Convention Center the main venue for five of them: Sunday through Tuesday, Project NY and MRKET; Monday and Tuesday, Functional Fabric Fair; Monday through Wednesday, Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA.

There’s also the Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle New York show at Chelsea Piers, Piers 92/94 on Monday through Wednesday, and the BPD Washhouse Expo at 666 Broadway, on Wednesday and Thursday.