Wednesday, 25 February 2009

US stocks gain but consumer confidence falls

US stocks were up yesterday. Bloomberg reports:

U.S. stocks advanced the most in a month, halting a six-day decline, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s statement that banks need not be nationalized helped lift equities from their lowest valuations in two decades...

The S&P 500 added 4 percent to 773.14 for the biggest rally since Jan. 21. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 236.16 points, or 3.3 percent, to 7,350.94. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies climbed 4.5 percent to 412.48. Ten stocks gained for each that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, the broadest rally since Dec. 16.

Stocks rose despite a report showing consumer confidence plunging in February.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index declined more than forecast to 25 this month, the lowest level since data began in 1967, from a January reading of 37.4.

Some analysts think there's hope for more gains in the market.

“There’s overwhelming value in this market,” said Randy Bateman, who oversees $15 billion as chief investment officer of the asset management unit of Huntington Bancshares Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. “If there’s any kind of momentum in the market, people want to jump on board.”

But the falling consumer confidence may have significance for the market nevertheless. Geoffrey Rogow at MarketBeat reports:

Monday’s decline by U.S. stocks to new lows has a different flavor than the late-2008 swoon, one that’s indicative of a total lack of confidence in the outlook for equities.

As major stock indexes hit 11-year lows Monday amid a broad-based sell-off, market participants pointed to retail investors as the culprits. Those same investors played a limited role in the downturn last October and November, when selling by hedge funds and institutional investors dominated.

But with bills piling up, home prices falling, unemployment rising and credit tough to come by, consumers who need money quickly are increasingly cashing out their stock investments.

No comments:

Post a Comment