Consumer Sentiment Saps Stocks

Article excerpt

Wall Street tumbled across the board as our trading session ended Friday. The Reuters/University of Michigan confidence index dropped to 63.2 in August, from 66.0 in July. Economists had expected a reading of 68.5, on average. As a result, commodities like oil fell broadly as investors pulled back from a four-week rally. Joblessness rose unexpectedly. Consumer demand is down, and retail sales crumbled, although a study on industrial output showed an increase for the first time in nine months in July. The Journal Record Index lost ground, shedding 8.28 points, or 1.02 percent, and closing at 807.00. Declining issues had the upper hand over advancing issues at a 24-18 count.

Dollar Thrifty shot up after Priceline.com boosted the fortunes of car rental stocks. In reporting second-quarter numbers, Priceline CEO Jeffrey Boyd noted "growth in rental car days was steady at 15 percent." The Journal Record numbers bear that out, showing a stock price for DTG of $1.09 at the end of December, compared to a close of $22.65 last week. That close was a weekly increase of $2.19, or 10.70 percent, putting Dollar Thrifty at the top of our dollar gainers last week.

The specter of trading curbs pressured two of the Journal Record Index's major players last week, even as the natural gas industry faces the weight of recession. …