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Amid the gloom of higher gas prices and a slumping housing market there appears to be a ray of hope.

The New York-based Conference Board said that its Consumer Confidence Index stands at 51.9 for July. Although that’s about half of what it was a year ago — the reading was slightly higher expected.

Also, the CEO of consumer staples giant Colgate-Palmolive predicted Tuesday that the company would have double-digit earnings per share growth for 2009.

Colgate also said its second-quarter profit grew 19 percent as worldwide sales were strong and Colgate used price increases to offset rising commodity costs for corn, soybeans and oil.

Keep your eye on the Consumer Discretionary SPDR , says Pete Najarian on Fast Money. It’s a great indicator of consumer discretionary space.

A big institutional buyer bought calls in this ETF on Tuesday, Najarian reveals, which suggests the whole sector could soon go higher.

I think if you want to play the consumer you’ve got to go boring, counters Jeff Macke. I’d look at Hasbro, Costco , and Wal-Mart.

















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Trader disclosure: On July 29, 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 (DIS), (MSFT), (WMT), (COST); Adami Owns (GS), ( C), (NUE), (MSFT), (AGU), (INTC), (BTU); Adami's Wife Works At Schering-Plough; Najarian Owns (TSO); Najarian Owns (WMT) Calls, (XLY) Calls; Najarian Owns (AAPL) Puts and stock; Finerman And Finerman's Firm Owns C; Finerman's Firm Owns (MRK), (GS), (VLO), (TSO), (MSFT), (SUN)