"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Consumer Confidence

It's time for Consumer Confidence, your monthly gauge of what consumer households think about the economy.  This is a huge measure, because it's current to forward looking, and because it directly samples the feelings of a group of people whose economic activity directly makes up around a third of GDP.  Respect Consumer Confidence.
Last month, the Consumer Confidence Index fell to a level of 63.4, missing expectations.  Most of the decline was credited to concerns about the economic future, as the Present Situation Index rose to 36.9 while the Expectations Index dropped to 81.1.  Looking to April, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are expecting an improvement to a level of 65.0.
And what actually happened?  Well, the report shows us that the Consumer Confidence Index beat expectations, rising to a level of 65.4, driven by an increase in both current and future expectations.  The Present Situation Index rose to 37.5, and the Expectations Index rose to 82.6.  According to Lynn Franco, the Director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, "Consumer confidence, which had declined sharply in March, posted a modest gain in April. Consumers’ short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing. Inflation expectations, which had spiked, retreated somewhat in April. Although confidence remains weak, consumers’ assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight month, a sign that the economic recovery continues."
So not bad, not bad at all.  Of course, all eyes are focused on the FOMC and what their announcement will be tomorrow at 12:30 EDT.  The smart money is on no change in rates, but we won't know for sure until then.

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