Another month, another dismal read on consumer confidence.
The Conference Board measure came in below expectations for May, with both the present and future expectations measures dropping. The University of Michigan sentiment reading has strengthened some off the recessionary lows of 2009, but is still nowhere near the 40-year average.
In other words, the headline data screams that the consumer economy is muddling along without much improvement.
Investors, however, seem to be painting their own, more optimistic tale about the economy ahead.
Despite high unemployment, debt ceiling fears, riots in Greece, earthquakes in Japan and a host of other negative headlines, most of the American consumer related stocks are doing pretty darn well lately.
Consider that heading into today the S&P 500 is up 2.6 percent so far in 2011.
But look at these YTD returns:Page 1 of 3 | Next Page