Worried Consumers: Hedge Funds Think These Stocks Will Take a Knock

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Feeling worried? You're not alone.

American consumers' confidence levels appear to be shot, with Gallup polls showing record low consumer confidence levels and increased fears of being laid off.

Concerns of layoffs plague 30% of workers, compared to 26% in 2010. August 2009 saw fears at its worst, at 31%. Workers are also worried hours, benefits and wages will be reduced.

The high level of concern is reflected in U.S. consumer confidence, which now polls at 44.5, well below estimates of 52, and far below a healthy economy's reading of 90.

All this worrying is sure to affect the companies that rely on consumer spending, which is on the rise overall, but at a slower than expected rate.

When consumer confidence is low, consumers may be more hesitant to spend and hold back on big-ticket items. Consumers are also likely to scrimp and save wherever possible, from driving and eating out less to choosing cheaper cereal brands.

Consumer goods stocks are likely to take the biggest hit from worried and cash-strapped consumers.

Interested in tracking how the slowdown in consumer spending affects consumer companies? Below we list consumer spending stocks that have been dumped by hedge funds.

The "smart money" thinks these consumer stocks are facing hard times and are unlikely to rebound anytime soon. Do you agree? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Citi Trends (NAS: CTRN) : Operates as a retailer of urban fashion apparel and accessories in the United States. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -1.1M shares, which represents about 8.22% of the company's float of 13.38M shares. The stock is exhibiting bearish momentum, and it's currently trading below its 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

2. DSW (NYS: DSW) : Operates as a specialty branded footwear retailer in the US. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -3.1M shares, which represents about 20.2% of the company's float of 15.35M shares.

3. Foot Locker (NYS: FL) : Operates as a retailer of athletic footwear and apparel. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -5.5M shares, which represents about 3.62% of the company's float of 151.80M shares.

4. Gap (NYS: GPS) : Operates as a specialty retailing company. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -31.0M shares, which represents about 7.74% of the company's float of 400.28M shares. The stock is exhibiting bearish momentum, and it's currently trading below its 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

5. Pacific Sunwear of California (NAS: PSUN) : Operates as a retailer rooted in the action sports, fashion, and music influences of the California lifestyle. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -5.2M shares, which represents about 14.68% of the company's float of 35.42M shares. The stock is exhibiting bearish momentum, and it's currently trading below its 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

6. Stage Stores (NYS: SSI) : Operates as a specialty department store retailer that offers branded and private label apparel, accessories, cosmetics, and footwear for women, men, and children in the United States. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -1.1M shares, which represents about 3.45% of the company's float of 31.93M shares. The stock is exhibiting bearish momentum, and it's currently trading below its 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

7. The Talbots (NYS: TLB) : Operates as a specialty retailer and direct marketer of women's apparel, accessories, and shoes in the United States and Canada. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -3.8M shares, which represents about 6.15% of the company's float of 61.83M shares. The stock is exhibiting bearish momentum, and it's currently trading below its 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

8. Wet Seal (NAS: WTSLA) : Operates stores that sell fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessory items designed for female customers. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -6.5M shares, which represents about 8.74% of the company's float of 74.33M shares. Momentum traders might be interested to know that the company is exhibiting strong upward momentum (currently trading above the 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages).

9. Big Lots (NYS: BIG) : Operates as a broad line closeout retailer in the United States. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -6.4M shares, which represents about 9.27% of the company's float of 69.01M shares.

10. BJ's Wholesale Club (NYS: BJ) : Operates warehouse clubs in the eastern United States. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -5.5M shares, which represents about 10.98% of the company's float of 50.10M shares. It's been a good couple of weeks for the stock, and it's currently trading above its short- and long-term moving averages.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


Kapitall's Becca Lipman does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Citi Trends and Gap. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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