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by 8/29/2000 4:17 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Two weekly retail sales numbers released yesterday showed a decrease in sales over the past few weeks. The LJR Redbook report showed national retail sales dropped 0.6 percent in the four weeks ended August 26, compared with the same period in July. However, sales rose 3.2 percent from the same period in 1999. The BTM report echoed the same sentiment. Their U.S. chain store sales index fell 0.2 percent for the week ended August 26 on a seasonally adjusted comparable-store basis. This drop followed last week's reading, which was down 0.8 percent. However, the sales index was up 3.7 percent from the same period in 1999, compared to a 3.5-percent rise over 1999 in the previous week. The S&P Retail Index (RLX - 815.8) dropped only 0.28 percent on the day after losing approximately seven percent over the last month.
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by 8/29/2000 3:44 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
New home sales figures released today by the Commerce Department surprised economists by rising at their highest rate in more than seven years. The increase came as a result of lower interest rates and continued high consumer confidence. July new home sales were up 14.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 944,000 annual rate, the highest sales rate since March. Analysts had expected an increase of only 0.7 percent. July's sharp rise followed June's downwardly revised 7.1-percent drop and an annualized rate of 823,000.

In another sign of the resurgence in the new housing market, the month's supply of single-family homes fell to 3.8 from June's 4.6 months, its lowest level since December 1998. The housing sector was expected to be one of the first to feel the effects of the six rate increases by the Fed since last June, and though the market had recently slowed, this resurgence may cause the Fed to reconsider the effects of its rate hikes when it meets next on October 3.
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by 8/29/2000 3:35 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for August dropped to 141.1 from July's reading of 143.0. Though the drop indicates that consumers are moderating their positive stance on the economy, consumer confidence remains near an all-time high. The current conditions component of the index fell only slightly from July's 186.8 to 183.4, suggesting that consumers continue to be extremely confident about the current state of their financial lives. The expectations sub-index also dropped a small amount to 113.0 from July's 113.7. The disparity between the current conditions reading and the expectations index suggests that though consumers remain upbeat about their financial future over the next few months, some added concerns have crept into their psyche.<
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by 8/29/2000 3:31 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Today's release of The Foundation for International Business and Economic Research (FIBER) index of coincident indicators suggests that the U.S. economy is indeed beginning to slow. This index, which is designed to gauge current U.S. economic growth, rose only 0.1 percent in July. FIBER's short leading index, covering one month, fell 0.1 percent in the month while its long leading index, covering the three-month span of May through July, fell by 0.8 percent.<
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by 8/29/2000 3:17 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The PHLX KBW Banking Index (BKX 867.20) has been struggling today, falling by over seven points, or just under one percent. This retreat has taken the index back to its ascending 20-day moving average, which it has finished only one session below since early July.

Stocks leading the BKX lower this afternoon include PNC Financial Services Group (PNC 57), FleetBoston Financial (FBF 39-11/16), and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB 43-7/8).

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