Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Falling consumer confidence hurts stocks

Falling consumer confidence hurt stocks. Dow is down 61, decliners over advancers 4-1 & NAZ is down 25. Consumer confidence in June fell to the lowest level in 16 years. The number dropped to 50.4, the bottom of the 50-60 range of forecasts. Home prices were down 1.4% in April, bringing the yearly decline to 15.3%. No surprise with a larger supply of homes between foreclosures & regular selling. Oil rose above 138 on supply worries, this time from Nigeria & Iran. Trading for some time in the 130s, that's becoming an accepted price level which the world is just starting to get used to. Congress has a bunch of bills trying help with the high oil prices. It's difficult to imagine anything meaningful will be passed let alone that any bills would do much good, especially since they have no control of foreign countries, from Saudi Arabia to China, where the real power lies.

Kroger (KR) reported improved earnings, up 15%, & raised guidance a little, sending the stock up 1.82. The gains were helped by improved sales for food, gas & discount drugs. They claim to be helping consumers stretch their budgets. Good for them, but sot so good at the macro economy level. The MLP index dropped 2 to 287, even with higher oil prices. Banks had a tiny relief rally, but are falling back again. Bank of America (BAC) now yields 10%, if the div is at least maintained. They are a long time member of the S&P Dividend Aristocrat list, but there are questions about staying on the list. Other member banks have been dropped recently.

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