Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Low Consumer Confidence Numbers Can be Bullish

Low consumer confidence numbers and investor sentiment are one of my favorite market indicators. Things are never as bad as people or the media make them out to be (nor are they as good as some say). There are some reasons to be bearish on stocks, but media gloom and doom isn't one of them. The media is fishing for ratings and will keep looking until they find a story that fits their opinions.

I've often thought about at what point will low consumer confidence really hinder the economy. I don't think we're there yet. When Indiana Jones is selling $300+ million in a weekend, and consumers are clamoring for the Nintendo Wii Fit and Apple iphone 3G, we're still okay.

What our economy needs is leadership from the top, which we haven't seen. We need an energy policy that both economists and environmentalists can feel good about, we need to reign in our outrageous government spending (see my post about the farm bill), and use the government as a tool for the people, not a black hole for our money to be thrown away.

The consumer may slow up a bit, but will be fine. I think its a great time to be buying a home. Use market weakness as an opportunity to by high quality stocks and funds with good balance sheets, operating in industries with few competitors, and in areas of secular growth. Don't count out the U.S. consumer and economy, we'll be back before your know it.

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