Major markets fell this session, hammered by consumer confidence woes. Job creation worries caused the Consumer Confidence Index to drop to 98.2, far below the 103.5 reading economists had expected, from the 105.7 posted in July. The index had been rising since April, and the August reading was the lowest since May, when it registered 93.1. "The slowdown in job growth has curbed consumers' confidence," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "The level of consumer optimism has fallen off and caution has returned. Until the job market and pace of hiring picks up, this cautious attitude will prevail."
A drop in oil prices moderated concern, but the lackluster volume expected in the doldrums of summer was heightened by concerns about the Republican Convention in New York which kept investors away from Wall Street in the final days of the session, ended August 31, 2004. "It's hard to make anything out of this rise [for the day] with the light trading we're in right now," said Brian Pears, head equity trader at Victory Capital Management. "We're really going to need to see evidence that this summer was a soft spot and not something prolonged."
The Energy User News Index managed an upswing for the session, despite Wall Street's negative tune. The EUN Index closed at 1194.82, a gain of 19.86 points, or 1.69%.
Shares of FPL Group rose 5.25 points this session after the company announced net earnings of $257 million, $1.43 per share. This compares to net earnings of $239 million, or $1.34 per share earned in the comparable quarter last year. These earnings surpass expectations of analysts polled by Thomson First Call, who expected FPL to earn $1.35 per share. FPL increased by 8.21% and closed at 69.20. FPL was the Index's top dollar gainer.
York tumbled after revising its 2004 guidance downward following news that the company has found flaws in some of its heat exchangers. York said that it will earn between $2.34 and $2.72 per share, off its earlier estimate of $2.70 and $3.00 per share. York fell 8.51 points, or 20.72%, and ended the session at 32.56. York was the top dollar loser.
Excelon boosted its earnings estimates for 2004, to $2.75 and $2.90 per share, up from an estimate released in July of $2.68 and $2.83 per share.
Energy User News Index Ticker Price Price Exchange Symbol Company 6/30/04 4/30/04 NASD ACPW Active Power, Inc. 2.91 3.19 NYSE AEP American Electric Power Co., Inc. 32.73 32.00 NASD APCC American Power …