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Demand for Guns, Food Stamps Indicates Uncertainty: Analyst

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The rise in gun sales and food stamp demand are indicators of a fearful public struggling financially, Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist, ConvergEx Group, told CNBC Monday.

“Oddly enough, buying a gun still holds very steady, but buying ammunition not so much,” said Colas, who analyzes trends in the economy and financial markets.

In addition to firearms and food stamps, ConvergEX reviewed sales of gold and silver coins and used cars.

“That tells us that there are more first-time [gun] buyers coming in to buy firearms and that speaks to your worries about security. They buy a few rounds [of ammunition] first time, but they don’t buy more.”

Colas said to determine firearm activity, he tracked FBI background checks and Google Trends for buying guns and ammunition. Likewise, Google indicated a high last month on those seeking information on how to get food stamps, he added.

Sales of goldcoins have levled off at 100,000 units a month over the last half year, said Colas, but interest in silver, much more affordable, is rising. “Just two years ago, silver coin sales were on the magnitude of 1 million units a month, now it’s 3 million units a month,” he added.

Colas said that after a large bump in used-car prices earlier this year, prices are now unchanged.

“The consumer is still on pretty shaky ground,” he added. “Confidence [is] still not all that strong, the intention to spend, still [is] not all that strong.”

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