It's about oil. Markets have hit their lows for the day as oil hit its high. Transportation stocks confirming that oil is the story, down 2.4 percent, twice the 1.2 percent decline of the S&P 500.
Mr. Bernanke said nothing controversial, but his claims that the impact from higher oil prices is minor is certainly not striking a chord with viewers. Here is one email I received this afternoon as Mr. Bernanke finished his testimony:
Gas prices here in the San Diego area have surged the last 2 weeks...Prices range from $3.8-$4.10.. How can the economy grow with huge gas prices?? I have stopped driving 2 days a week, more in protest, than anything else ... I am so upset, I could just ring those economists necks that say higher gas prices have no impact...they are just flat wrong."
Interestingly, other financial stocks that heavy consumer discretionary angles are also weaker than the overall market — home builders and finanicals, particularly regional financials.
Last night, a risk analysis company, Verisk Analytics, said they were anticipating lower mortgage application and origination volumes in 2011. This is likely a factor in the weakness in home builders and regional banks.
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