Yesterday stocks traded in a tight range on exceptionally low volume ahead of a series of central bank meetings this week. NYSE total volume was two standard deviations below average and the lowest volume put in on a non-holiday trading day this year (zerohedge).

Recent consumer confidence data out of Germany, Finland, Austria, and France came in weak, showing that the continent’s banking crisis is beginning to impact consumers in even the strongest European economies. This pessimism indicates that Europe is unlikely to quickly pick up in the coming months (Wall Street Journal). Europeans certainly have plenty to worry about with Euro-zone unemployment at 11.2% with 123,000 jobs being shed in June. This poor data will likely be supportive of ECB intervention in some capacity, which could be announced as early as Thursday.

Reports out of the US this morning were a bit more upbeat: the Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.7%, an unusually large gain and the third monthly gain in a row.

Pfizer reported a Q2 earnings beat this morning with EPS of $0.62 versus $0.54 expected. Global revenue fell 9% but still managed to beat expectations. Earnings growth was driven by better than expected sales of Lipitor coupled with decreases in research spending and administrative costs. The company also announced plans to separate its animal health division into a standalone company so that it can concentrate on its core pharmaceuticals business (Reuters). This stock yields 3.71% and has outperformed the broad market year to date. We remain bullish on the stock going forward, which is likely to see price appreciation due to its yield and earnings stability.