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Jay McIntosh

Confidence rubs off on furniture stocks

May 26, 2009

Most furniture stocks are enjoying price gains today, probably thanks to this morning’s report of higher consumer confidence.

Retailers Pier 1 Imports, Cost Plus World Market and Havertys were all up more than 10% as of about 2:45 p.m. Eastern time. Manufacturer and retailer Select Comfort also was up close to 16% after a private equity fund said it would buy just over half the shares of the airbed manufacturer and retailer.

On the manufacturing side, Ethan Allen shares had gained nearly 10% and Furniture Brands, Hooker and La-Z-Boy were up in the 7% to 8% range.

The gains still don’t bring our battered industry back to where it was a year ago. Of course, the same can be said of the broader market measures, although home furnishings has been hit particularly hard.

According to The Conference Board, the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index jumped from 40.8 in April to 54.9 in May. People the research organization surveyed in May thought today’s economy was still in the dumps (the Present Situation index edged up from 25.5 in April to 28.9 in May) but they were way more optimistic about where we’re headed (the Expectations Index climbed from 51.0 to 72.3).

Let’s hope that optimism begins to be borne out in the third and fourth quarters.