By the slimmest of margins, the US economy fell into a recession in the second quarter. - MarketBeat

The definition of two straight quarters of negative GDP growth has been brushed aside by many market pundits. There are many reasons why investors should see the glass as half full.

With inflation stillwreaking havoc on the budgets of many American households and corporations, some say the worst is yet to come.

Next week's Fed meeting, when another large rate hike is expected to be unleashed, will be our next big clue as to the economy's health.

Other important clues will arrive from some of the nation's biggest economic bellwethers that are tied to key economic areas like retail, e- commerce, and tourism. By the time these three companies give their latest results and outlooks, they will have a better idea of what to expect in the fourth quarter.

What are Costco’s Sales Growth Trends? 

The fiscal Q4 earnings of the company will be reported on September 22nd. We have a good idea of how things will go based on the retailer's monthly sales updates. In the month of May, June, and July, comparable store sales grew at a rate of 15.5%, 18.1%, and 10%. The health of the consumer is still good, or at the very least, that people are paying more for merchandise and gasoline.

Online shopping habits have changed from where they were a year ago. In August, sales grew at a slower rate than in the previous month. Consumers are limiting big ticket purchases like TVs and laptops due to higher food prices.

According to Wall Street, Q4 revenue is expected to grow at a slower rate than the last two quarters. Some of the increase will relate to higher prices. It is important for management to know how cautious consumers are heading into the holiday shopping season.

What are FedEx’s Long-Term Financial Goals?

FedEx Corporation's fiscal 2023 earnings calls begin after the market closes on September 22. The market always gets good information about economic health from management's commentary. In a few days, the company will hold its annual stockholders meeting where investors will be reassured that the future is bright despite the near-term pressures of higher fuel costs and softer e- commerce activity.

FedEx has had a quiet summer in the public eye. The last formal update we received was in June when it unveiled its strategy. The leadership team presented its plan to create more value for customers, employees, and investors as well as announcing its financial targets for fiscal25. FedEx wants to increase operating income by up to 4.5 billion dollars over the next four years and earnings by up to 19 percent over the next five years.

The package delivery giant will have to work through a set of challenges that include higher fuel and inflation. With a new CEO at the helm, FedEx will look to rediscover its growth of yesteryear by making operations more efficient and re-prioritizing the shareholder through dividends.

Is Carnival Investing for Growth?

Consumer demand for cruises is on the rise, but you wouldn't know it from Carnival Corporation's stock return. Higher interest expenses and fuel expenses have sunk the cruise line operator's stock back to its early lows.

The Princess Cruises division of Carnival has a deal with a boutique fitness company that will bring branded fitness content to Princess cruise ships. The offerings will be integrated with Princess' OneSpaWorld business. The move shows that Carnival is confident that travelers will continue to seek out cruises and that they will come if you build it.

It is not known if Carnival's partnerships and investments will lead to better financials in the future. When Carnival reports August quarter results at the end of the month, the market will get a glimpse of the strategy's traction. If smoother waters are ahead for the cruise line industry, consumers will be more willing to book cruises.

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