This Market Is No Confidence-Booster

 | Feb 15, 2012 | 1:49 PM EST  | Comments
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Every once in a while, you need confirmation of the recovery in some form or another. You need to hear companies other than Apple (AAPL) say that business is getting better, and you need the big theses -- housing and auto recoveries, agriculture, the Internet as well as oil and gas -- improving or remaining strong.

We haven't had that today. For the second day in a row, the long-awaited housing turn seems further away, courtesy first Masco (MAS) and then Owens Corning (OC). We don't have new auto numbers out, but the run in Toyota Motor (TM) is getting worrisome, at least if you are owning Ford (F) or General Motors (GM), because a lot of the recovery of these two has come on the decline in the once all-powerful Japanese automaker.

Deere (DE) didn't say what we were hoping. Instead you can read its statements and comments as saying that agriculture has peaked.

Zynga's (ZNGA) numbers indicate, at least to me, that we've got some sort of slowdown in the rate of adoption of games, and it could reflect poorly on the whole group, especially the upcoming Facebook deal.

I don't like the way Amazon (AMZN) is acting at all, although at least it makes sense, given the Bloomberg story about Amazon Prime's numbers being light.

And today, Devon Energy (DVN) slashed its exploration-and-production budget, and that is real bad news for the oil-drilling complex.

Sure, Comcast (CMCSK), whom I also work for, reported terrific numbers. They were, quite simply, unbelievably strong on every front, and the cash flow and dividend boost are fabulous.

AT&T (T) is spending money again, as we can tell from the run in Juniper Networks (JNPR).

Procter & Gamble (PG) and Kellogg (K) are winners in Diamond Foods' (DMND) aborted acquisition of Pringles.

But after a big run, we need the big theses to be intact.

Today they aren't, and you can see the havoc they can cause when they aren't fitting the picture that's needed for higher prices.

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