Strong Consumer Data Not Enough to Excite Markets

Strong consumer sentiment in October wasn't enough to excite markets today, and stocks are moving sideways headed into the weekend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is down just 0.07% in mixed trading and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) is down 0.27% today.

This morning a preliminary University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment gauge for October rose to 83.1 from 78.3 in September. That's the highest level since September 2007 and indicates that consumers may continue to open their wallets and push the economy forward.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) is one of the Dow's best stocks today, which shouldn't be a surprise with higher consumer confidence. The stock is up around 1% on the consumer news and an upgrade by Jefferies analyst Daniel Binder, who moved the stock from a hold to buy rating. He expects the stock to reach $88 in a year based on improved same-store sales and an expansion in small-footprint stores.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) is moving 1.2% higher after receiving a $2 billion contract to continue logistics support for C-17 transport planes through 2017. The company also received an order from Alaska Air for 50-737s.

After a few strong weeks, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is the Dow's biggest loser today, falling 1.8%. Yesterday Reuters reported that one in six of the company's employees are working on troubled home loans, showing just how large the challenge is for the company. Bank of America reports earnings next week and the report should show whether the company is handling the challenge or if investors should give up on this turnaround story.

To learn more about the most-talked-about bank out there, check out our in-depth premium report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America’s prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw

The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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