The Conference Board’s latest reading on consumer confidence showed consumer expectations in June fell to their lowest level since 2013.
The consumer confidence index for June fell to 98.7 from 103.2 in May, below expectations for a reading of 100. The report’s expectations index, which is based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income growth, the job market, and overall business conditions, fell to 66.4, its lowest reading since March 2013.
As you might imagine the drop in consumer confidence heightened fears about slowing economic growth and a possible recession. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY) closed down 2.52% on the day. Such consumer bellwethers as Macy’s (M), Farfetch (FTCH), and PayPal (PYPL) fell, losing 3.21%, 8.73%, and 3.32%, respectively.
Commodities and commodity stocks rose on vague news (or hopes) that China was opening further and that economic growth there would pick up. Oil stocks were higher with ConocoPhillips (COP) gaining 2.97% and Equinor (EQNR) up 2.87%. U.S. Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was higher by 2.75%. Teucrium Wheat Fund (WEAT) and Teucrium Corn Fund (CORN) were ahead 1.61% and 1.59% at the close.
Oddly enough airline stock were higher too. The explanation I heard was that it was on optimism about China’s economy opening. (Just saying.) American Airlines ended up 1.92%.
So what should you do? Nothing is good option at the moment. Commodity hedges on consumer and growth stocks are working reasonably well. We’re seeing a continuation of the battle between fear of slower growth and a hope that a slowdown in the economy will lead the Federal Reserve to stop its interest rate increases sooner rather than later.