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Chart of the Week Archive

Consumer Credit Shrinks First Time in 10 Years

Consumer Credit Shrinks First Time in 10 Years

Outstanding consumer credit declined at an annualized rate of 3.75% in August on a seasonally adjusted basis according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The monthly decline was the first since January 1998 and only the second since the recession of the early 90s.

Expect the consumer credit pinch to continue as recessions go hand in hand with declines in consumer credit.  In the period

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Dividend Yields Hit 12 Year High

Dividend Yields Hit 12 Year High

Last week's market correction has lowered stock prices to the point where dividend yields are now at their highest levels in 12 years.

Leading S&P 500 components such as Pfizer (PFE), AT&T (T), Dow Chemical (DOW), Nucor (NUE), and Duke Energy (DUK) all ended the week with forward looking dividend yields of over 6.5% and well above their 5 year averages.  Continue Reading »

Insurance Under Pressure

Insurance Under Pressure

The collapse and federal rescue of AIG only signaled the beginning of problems for the insurance industry which was the worst performing sector in the past month.

The Dow Jones US Full Line Insurance Industry index is down 76% in the past 30 days.

New concerns were raised last week when Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced that an "insurance company -- one with a name that everyone knows, is on the verge of going bankrupt."  The stock prices of several major insurance

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Investment Grade Credit On Sale

Investment Grade Credit On Sale

The deterioration in the value of bonds from AIG, Barclays Capital and Wachovia has taken a toll on the iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (LQD).

After trading over $100 for the past year, LQD declined over 10% in mid-September and closed last week at $90 which was $1.58 below NAV and effectively raised the 30 day SEC yield to 6.84%.

The $3.8 billion ETF invests in highly liquid, investment grade corporat

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Banks Bolt Higher on News of Rescue Plan

Banks Bolt Higher on News of Rescue Plan

News that the US government is putting together a comprehensive rescue plan caused the Dow Jones US Bank Index to climb over 30% last Thursday and the index held the gains on Friday.

The proposed plan will give Treasury a blank check to buy troubled assets from banks, effectively restoring their balance sheets and stabilizing the industry.

The Dow Jones U.S.

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Retailers Show Steady Improvement

Retailers Show Steady Improvement

Since coming off a mid-July low, the Dow Jones US Broadline Retailers Index has shown steady improvement.

Dollar stores, club stores, Wal-Mart (WMT) and Amazon.com (AMZN) have been the best performers in the group over the last 6 months as consumers went in search of lower cost retailers to offset rising food and gas prices.

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) tracks the S&P Retail

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Homebuilders Climb Out of the Basement

Homebuilders Climb Out of the Basement

US home builder stocks have been the best performing industry group over the past month.

The Dow Jones US Home Construction Index is up over 11% in the past 30 days and up over 20% from the mid-July low.

Investors are looking for another bottom as the industry continues to work off inventory and deal with cancellations.  However, not all home builders are contributing to the comeback.  Toll Brothers (TOL) is near a 52-week high while Hovnanian Enterprises

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Worst Month in 16 Years for the Pound

Worst Month in 16 Years for the Pound

The British Pound fell 8% against the U.S.

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Medical Devices Remain Strong

Medical Devices Remain Strong

The Dow Jones US Medical Devices Index has steadily recovered from its low at the beginning of July.

The performance continued last week as leading component Medtronic (MDT) issued a positive earnings report and confirmed guidance for the year.

iShares' Dow Jones U.S.

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Strong July for Small Cap Value

Strong July for Small Cap Value

As reported in ETF News, the small cap value index was the top performer for the month of July.

Small cap value ETFs benefited as evidenced by the accompanying chart of the SPDR DJ Wilshire Small Cap Value ETF (DSV).

Other Small Cap Value ETFs include the iShares S&P SmallCap 600 Value ETF (Continue Reading »