Dividend Payers Are Big Again

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Strange market. Worries about a slowdown in China, and June retail sales in the U.S. were simply awful, but stocks mostly hang in there. (See Marc Faber's take: Beware China, but Not Commodities)

A couple of points:

1) it really helps that Citi, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo have come in "good enough" on earnings with no blowups (but note there is no follow-up today for JPM).

2) the rest seems to be all about faith in central banks. QE3 hopes are alive and well, but the bond market, at 1.44 percent for the 10-year yield, seems to be telling us that this faith is deeply misplaced. Mr. Bernanke testifies in Congress tomorrow.

Meantime, with 10-year yields below 1.5 percent, there is tons of money flying into high-dividend paying REITs and Utilities...both indices are near 4-year highs.

Same with high-yield bond funds. The SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Fund is also near a 4-year high.

Did I mention how awful retail sales were? It's important because it's a major component of GDP...and those numbers are coming down.

B ob A/Merrill Lynch now has 1.1 percent growth for Q2 GDP. CIBC, which has also nudged their Q2 estimates down to 1.9 percent, said in a note: "...the rebound in consumer spending that we were expecting in Q3, as households use money freed up from lower gasoline prices to fill pent-up demand for durable goods, now seems likely to be less vigorous."

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