The new SpendingPulse data is here! The new SpendingPulse data is here!

This morning, the MasterCard business unit devoted to keeping its finger on the pulse of U.S. consumers' spending (or lack thereof) released its latest update on where we are (or aren't) laying our credit cards on the table. Sad to say, the losers this month, include just about everyone:


Is there any way to turn this data to our investing advantage?

Some of these things are not like the others
Clearly, certain sectors of the consumer economy are suffering. Footwear stands out as one Achilles Heel. If you read Under Armour's (NYSE: UA) earnings report last month, you already knew that. Years into the housing downturn, furniture sales also remain weak.

But take heart, dear Fool. Online sales remain strong, and thanks to the summer heatwave, SpendingPulse tells us that air conditioning units are selling like, uh, hotcakes. Don't be surprised if that shows up in Home Depot's (NYSE: HD) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) results next month.

Speaking of earnings, it's probably worth emphasizing that SpendingPulse's data this morning concerns July sales trends in particular. Since July is the first month of so many companies' fiscal third quarters, the early trends here could be all the more important to catch. It may be months until we see the actual numbers, sure, but early indications look good for another strong sales quarter at Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN).

Nor should we forget how Internet sales get made in the first place. It all starts with somebody logging onto a computer and running a search for what they want. We could see strong results at Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and its still-growing Bing business, and perhaps a bump in Yahoo!'s numbers as well, now that it's growing again. And it goes without saying that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) will rake in its usual billions of dollars of profits, since it's nearly twice as big as its two biggest rivals combined.

Like I once heard a goateed crazy guy say on TV: There's always a bull market somewhere.

That's my take on the SpendingPulse data, but what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Home Depot, Lowe's, and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. Google and Under Armour are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Amazon.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Under Armour is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing puts on Lowe's Companies. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Under Armour.

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Google. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.