Americans are also buying property. New home sales jumped in May to a five-year high, data showed this week. The demand is fueling real-estate values, helping to boost wealth. House prices in 20 U.S. cities in April had the biggest year-over-year gain since March 2006, according to S&P/Case-Shiller figures.
Kroger Co., a supermarket and convenience store chain based in Cincinnati, is among companies watching for signs of how customers may fare in coming months.
“While there are signs of a better economy, the improvement is not robust,” David Dillon, chief executive officer, said in a June 20 earnings call. “Consumer sentiment is gradually improving, but remains fragile. We continue to see high variability in sales comparisons between days and weeks.”
The Fed will probably taper its $85 billion in monthly bond buying later in 2013 and halt purchases around mid-2014 as long as the economy performs in line with its projections, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told reporters on June 19 after policy makers’ two-day meeting.