Consumers apparently stole the punchbowl from the market's party last week, forcing the indices to close lower for the first time after four straight weeks of gains.
- Dow: Down 0.52% to 9,321.4
- S&P 500: Down 0.63% to 1,004.09
- Nasdaq: Down 0.74% to 1985.52
Consumer sentiment fell to 63.2 from 66 in July, as measured by the Reuters/University of Michigan index. Analysts were expecting a rise. Retailers revealed a similarly gloomy sentiment in earnings reports last week.
Retailers continue to pursue tight inventory management and cost-cutting amid lackluster demand.
Sales at Macy's
Suppliers are suffering just as badly as retailers. Liz Claiborne
The luxury end of the market is still taking it in the chin. Thanks to tight inventory management and lowered prices to stay competitive, upscale retailer Nordstrom
Look at the back-to-school shopping season as a clue for consumer attitudes, and in turn the prospects for recovery. Unless sentiment improves, retailers could face another dreary back-to-school and holiday shopping season.
In other company news ...
In another sign that the housing market may be improving, Toll Brothers
This week brings housing starts, the producer price index, and the economic leading indicators report, all of which will continue to give us signs of whether recovery is indeed near. Hewlett-Packard, Deere and Heinz report earnings this week.
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Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Wal-Mart is an Inside Value recommendation. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is not entirely sure how this lampshade got on its head.