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Two Ways To Play: Retail Sales Disappoint


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Bloomberg reports retail sales in the US dropped in July for the first time in five months after surging energy prices and tighter credit conditions cut demand for cars and trucks.

The Commerce Department said today that spending fell 0.1% in June. Less autos, that figure rose 0.4%, but was still lower than anticipated. Separately, the Labor Department said prices of imported goods jumped 21.6% in the year to July, the most since 1982.

Overall, spending by consumers has grown every quarter since 1992, but economists think it may stall in the last three months of this year after growing at a 0.6% annual rate. In the year that ended in June, spending growth was the slowest since the 12 months through December 1991.

From the Bull Pen: Although it might seem easy to be the easy trade at this point, "wants versus needs" continues to be the theme. Was the dumping in Costco (COST) a gift? Bulls can look to that stock for a longer-term trade. Sell-stops can be set near $65.

From the Bear Cave: Stocks like Coach (COH) could see more positive momentum given this rally. Bears can choose to fade this stock into its 200 DMA ($31.50).
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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