Evidence of a slowing economy: Consumer stocks are up. The Morgan Stanley Consumer Stock Index is up 6.5% this year, versus 4% for the Dow Jones industrials. Leaders include McDonald's, up 14.5%; Rubbermaid, up 13.1%; and Wal-Mart Stores, up 12.4%. These companies don't boom in a slow economy--but they do tend to grow, while cyclicals such as carmakers and homebuilders slow. Investors started selling cyclicals and buying household-name consumer stocks late in 1994.
EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS