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This Week: Debt tally, PriceSmart earns, consumer sentiment

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:

JUST CHARGE IT

The Federal Reserve issues its February snapshot of U.S. consumer borrowing Tuesday.

The tally, which excludes mortgages and other loans secured by real estate, is expected to show consumer borrowing increased by $15.6 billion, up from a gain of $12 billion the previous month. That gain in January pushed total consumer credit to a record $4.2 trillion. Consumer borrowing is closely followed for clues to the willingness of households to go into debt to support their spending.

Consumer credit, monthly change, seasonally adjusted, billions of dollars:

Sept. 8.9

Oct. 16.4

Nov. 9.5

Dec. 20.3

Jan. 12.0

Feb. (est.) 15.6

Source: FactSet

IN THE CLUB

Wall Street expects another solid quarterly report card from PriceSmart.

Analyst predict the warehouse club operator’s fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue increased from a year earlier. That would echo the company’s results in the previous quarter. Investors will be listening for an update on how the retailer’s sales are faring. Last month, PriceSmart said it had not yet seen a significant impact from the coronavirus, other than an increase in sales of durable food and cleaning items.

EYE ON CONSUMERS

A new survey is expected to show U.S. consumers’ optimism about the economy is down sharply this month.

The University of Michigan’s latest consumer sentiment survey is due out Thursday. Economists predict that this month’s reading will be 79, down from 89.1 in March. That would be the second drop in a row, reflecting growing uncertainty over the economic fallout from the spreading pandemic.

Consumer Sentiment Index, not seasonally adjusted, by month:

Nov. 96.8

Dec. 99.3

Jan. 99.8

Feb. 101.0

March 89.1

April (est.) 79.0

Source: FactSet

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