At Rock Bottom

Looks like more of us are taking the road less traveled. But then again, what choice do we have?

Because of higher gas prices the government reports that Americans drove 3.7 percent fewer vehicle miles in May 2008 than in 2007.

"This is the largest drop in vehicle miles traveled for any May, which typically reflects increased traffic due to Memorial Day vacations and the beginning of summer," the FHA said in a statement.

What do the stats suggest ahead of Tuesday’s Consumer Confidence numbers?

“The economic data will probably be better than expected,” says Zachary Karabell, president Of Rivertwice Research on Fast Money, “but the debate will continue over how weak it’s going to get.”

“There has been a huge sell-off in consumer discretionary,” he adds. “Now is probably the time to look at those stocks because the data will lead to assumptions that weakness is still ahead of us.”

In other words, the time to buy is ahead of any up-turn because once the economic numbers reflect growth it will be too late.

“I think the play is to buy pockets of consumer strength such as Apple (AAPL) Corning (GLW) and Disney (DIS),” counsels Karabell. “Or look for consumer names that don’t trade in the consumer discretionary space, such as Google (GOOG).

“Another way to play it is get long a good consumer name and short the SPDR S&P Retail
against it,” he concludes.

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Trader disclosure: On July 28, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (HAS), (DIS), (WMT), (ATVID), (MSFT); Adami Owns (BTU), (C), (AGU), (GS), (MSFT), (NUE); Finerman Owns (GS); Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT), (SUN), (TSO), (VLO); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C), (C) Leaps; Finerman's Firm Is Short (BBT), (XLF), (IYR), (IJR), (MDY), (IWM), (SPY); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C), (C) Leaps; Najarian Owns (CSCO) Calls, (YHOO) Calls, (SKF) Calls, (WLT) Calls; Najarian Owns (TSO) And Is Short (TSO) Calls; Najarian Owns (AAPL) And (AAPL) Puts; Najarian Owns (XLF) Puts

Karabell Owns (GOOG), (DIS)