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Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Plunges To Seven Month Low As Wealth Effect Trounced By Poverty Effect

Tyler Durden's picture


After staging a brief recovery in the last few weeks following the undeterred pursuit of the successful completion of Bernanke's wealth effect crusade (Russell at 36,000 or bust), consumer confidence has once again realized that while the rich are getting richer, it means jack for everyone else. As a result the Consumer Comfort index, which recently was moved from ABC to Bloomberg, has just plunged to a 7 month low, indicating comparable slides are coming in the other two reflexive market indicators, the UMich and the CONference Board. "Consumer confidence in the U.S. fell last week to the lowest level since August as more Americans became despondent over the economy. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 48.9 in the period to March 20 from minus 48.5 the prior week. The measure of the current state of the economy slumped to a 15-month low." And contrary to Central Planning assumptions that Americans are mostly idiots, the recent surge in gasoline prices to near 3 year highs was not missed: "“Given the rise in fuel and food costs, households are clearly indicating frustration over the need to reduce discretionary spending to meet demand for basic necessities,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “Even better-off households are feeling the pinch of rising prices, primarily at the pump.”"

The latest re-depressionary chart:

And more from Bloomberg:

Record Low

The Bloomberg Comfort Index, with records dating back to December 1985, fell to a record low of minus 54 in November 2008, while the peak of 38 was reached in January 2000. Readings averaged minus 45.7 last year.
The latest results for the comfort index reflected worsening results for one of the three components.
A gauge of Americans’ views of the economy fell to minus 86 last week, the lowest level since December 2009, from minus 80.3 the prior week. The share of households with a positive view of the economy dropped to 7 percent from 10 percent.
The measure of personal finances improved to minus 5.5 last week from minus 7.7, the report showed. Forty-seven percent of those polled held positive views on their financial situation, up from 46 percent the previous week.
The buying-climate index rose to minus 55.1 from minus 57.4. Those saying it was a good time to buy needed items climbed to 23 percent from 21 percent.

Full-Time Workers

Today’s report showed the strengthening labor market is doing little to lift consumers’ moods. The confidence index for Americans with full-time jobs fell to minus 38.4 last week, the lowest level since August, while it improved for those who were

Jobless claims declined by 5,000 to 382,000 in the week ended March 19, Labor Department figures showed today, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomber News. The total number of people receiving benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost three years.
Sentiment among women dropped last week to the lowest level since October 2009, the comfort report also showed.
Although elevated, little change in fuel costs last week may have prevented the comfort index from dropping even more.
The average price of regular gasoline at the pump was $3.55 a gallon on March 20, compared with $3.56 a week earlier, the highest since October 2008, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring organization. The price jumped 39 cents in the three weeks ended March 13.
Linked to Gasoline

“Consumer confidence paused this week after a two-week rout, continuing to march in time with the price of a gallon of gasoline,” Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates LLC in New York, which compiles the index for Bloomberg, said in a statement. At the same time, the index is “uncomfortably near its historic low” of minus 54, he said.
Gasoline prices and the comfort index have shown a strong inverse correlation since 2004, according to calculations by Bloomberg economist Brusuelas. Additionally, changes in the four-week average of claims for jobless benefits have been in sync with the comfort gauge about 72 percent of the time.
Americans are paying more for staple food items like cereal, and costs may climb further in the next few months.
“In recent months we have announced a variety of pricing actions across our businesses,” Ken Powell, chief executive officer of General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios, said yesterday on a conference call. “Food manufacturers are managing through a period of rising and volatile costs for food ingredients and energy.”

Index’s Calculation

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index is based on responses to telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,000 consumers aged 18 and over. Each week, 250 respondents are asked for their views on the economy, personal finances and buying climate; the percentage of negative responses is subtracted from the share of positive views and divided by three. The most recent reading is based on the average of responses over the previous four weeks.
The comfort index can range from 100, indicating every participant in the survey had a positive response to all three components, to minus 100, signaling all views were negative. The margin of error for the headline reading is 3 percentage points.
The responses are broken down by participants’ sex, age, income level, race, region of residence, political affiliation, marital and employment status.
Field work for the index is done by SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions in Media, Pennsylvania.


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Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:07 | 1094915 Revolution_star...
Revolution_starts_now's picture

Poverty Bitchez. the real fuel of revolution.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:23 | 1094976 TradingJoe
TradingJoe's picture

At this point, I'd really REALLY like to have one, a BIG ONE!

See heads roll, starting at the TOP!

Most likely will never happen,

think of all the guns in all them poor people's basements!!!!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:31 | 1095029 Ray1968
Ray1968's picture

If that happened, we'd be declared rebels, Obama would bomb us with our own military and the UN would establish a no-fly zone over America. Obama doctrine used against Obama totalitarianism.

Canadian jet fighters!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:41 | 1095075 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Fine let them do whatever, lets see how that works when theyre not firing upon unarmed protestors, but heavily armed protestors.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:00 | 1095504 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

I doubt we'd be labeled rebels, more likely 'domestic terrorists.'

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:24 | 1094977 66Sexy
66Sexy's picture

Moar bullish news for the DOW.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:23 | 1094979 asteroids
asteroids's picture

The floggings will continue until moral improves.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:24 | 1094982 oh_bama
oh_bama's picture




If you ahve to do it, do it sooner!!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:23 | 1094987 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

There will be no revolution. Just a shitton of BAAWWWW. Nobody is ready to be labeled a terrorist for what he or she believes. Nobody is ready to sacrifice his or her life for a cause. This is not the middle east, there will be no blood. This is not Japan, there will be no unity. This is America, there will be servitude. Deal with it.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:34 | 1095386 Revolution_star...
Revolution_starts_now's picture

"Nobody is ready to be labeled a terrorist for what he or she believes"

I prefer the term American Insurgent.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:12 | 1095547 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Dare we say...    ..."patriot".

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 14:53 | 1096269 SilverBaron
SilverBaron's picture

He just used the P word.  Copy that.  Should we take him in for questioning?  Does he have an American flag or Ron Paul bumper sticker?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:09 | 1094916 Cookie
Cookie's picture

And more poverty coming when Toyota shuts its 13 US factories

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:14 | 1094937 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

Honda too

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:19 | 1094967 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

So(r)ny three.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:08 | 1094919 Racer
Racer's picture

Let them eat iPads

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:14 | 1094944 tmosley
tmosley's picture

With Japan shut down, looks like they will just have to eat shit instead.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:20 | 1094970 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Not just radiated food and water, raise the safe limits and all is ok. Any drops in fallout is BTE

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:26 | 1094992 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

@ Racer

ipods, ipads, and iphones are the next shoe to drop. these four senators say you have no first amendment rights, they will control the app market.,2817,2382500,00.asp


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:24 | 1094981 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

The MSM will make them think it "tastes like chicken".

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:46 | 1094998 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Nah, just have people shift over to long pig.  Feature it in some cooking shows, that should drop meat prices and lower unemployment.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:43 | 1095087 rocker
rocker's picture

Kudlow says, No Worry. Larry Kudlow tells all that matters to the elite when he said, "The Human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that." His bitches at CNBC shook their heads in agreement.

At least the people on ZH have soul and a heart from what I've heard here. This is the best site for real news and the correct perspective of reality.  Tyler & Team Rocks !!!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:10 | 1094922 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

the S&P was at 1040 the day before Bernanke "hinted" at QE2.  remember that....the right shoulder was about to fail and GS said 900 was the target should it fail??????



Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:10 | 1094923 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

The wealth effect and the poverty effect are one in the same.

No War But The Class War:  You're either with the capitalists, or you're with their slaves.

Sitting on the fence gets you nothing but a bloody asshole.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:11 | 1094932 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

GS is readjusting US GDP again..LOL

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:12 | 1094934 Fortunes Favor
Fortunes Favor's picture

Bad news is good news for the commodity and equity markets.


Understanding the Government Manipulated Credit Market Evolution @


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:12 | 1094936 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Must be time for more currency printing. That solves all problems. If the Chicago Cubs could print money, they would win the World Series.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:15 | 1094941 Republican Lackey
Republican Lackey's picture

Americans are a whiny bunch.  It's embarrassing. 

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:23 | 1094990 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Joy, another Libtroll.

What's wrong?  Are you so threatened by those of us who understand what is really going on that you have to come here and try to disrupt conversation?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:25 | 1095002 Republican Lackey
Republican Lackey's picture

Enlighten me as to what is going on?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:43 | 1095086 lieutenantjohnchard
lieutenantjohnchard's picture

if you don't know by now then there's nothing anybody could tell you to give you a clue.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:13 | 1094942 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Hands down, retail stocks have been by far the strongest sector, absolutely unfazed by all the recent geopolitical and thermonuclear storms flaming out of control.

WMT, BBY, etc. especially strong today.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:20 | 1094965 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture


ZH won't give us an ignore button (gee, I wonder why???), but you get an IGNORE.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:25 | 1094986 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Ignore would be nice, sure an opposing side is useful but every other news source is ra ra rally.

Shitty data? World burning? Buy stocks!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:29 | 1095025 lieutenantjohnchard
lieutenantjohnchard's picture

true, the poster known as robottrader gets an ignore time stamp because he ignores his own advice.

that said, jim sinclair sends the warmest regards to the old catfish mouth robo uber bull bear wannbe. so does t. boone pickens who faded the old catfish mouth's call of collapsing oil as proof there was no inflation.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:58 | 1095186 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

JLL, you have to give Robot one thing in his favour. Or two.

a) His charts point out the utter madness of the system. retail spending down, retail stocks up. Tells us a lot about the state of the world in many ways. I'll give you a small India example. Right now, hands down, the most "funded" sector in India is Retail. Malls, stores, on-line, off-line, discount, it. Sprouting up like the cancers they are. And many/most of them have perrinial "SALE" signs on them. Tells me that someone is flogging retail, losses be damned. Also tells you a lot about the true cost input for many manufacturers (CHINAAA). It's really that bad. off the charts. And newly credit rich Indians are buying like there is no tomorrow. 

2) For a stock trader interested in fiat returns, against all odds (talk abotu AGAINST ALL ODDS) the market is UP and you woudl have made a hefty chunk of FRN's if you were invested in said god-damned retail sector. Ugly reality.


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:04 | 1095236 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

back from the un-dead. CARS goes from $0.34 to $17.71 in two years.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:08 | 1095273 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

I have invested in the markets since the 1980s (though I am 100% out as of late 2010).  I mostly invested in oil and gas services and technology firms over the years.  However, what is happening now is patently absurd.  Every bit of lousy macroeconomic data is ignored as certain Central Banks flood their respective nation's money supply.  That will not work, and it is enslaving the next generation with massive debt.  I honestly wonder if certain Central Banks really do want to manufacture global currency crises in the future hope of establishing one world currency... and one world government.  Thank goodness there are still sites like this one that make the effort to tell the truth.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:17 | 1095570 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, they do.  In fact, go dig around the U.N.'s website and that of the IMF.  It is discussed at length and in great detail.  it is coming.  Sheeple are way too apathetic and lazy to revolt on something like "principle".  Now starvation, well that might get a different response.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:11 | 1095513 linrom
linrom's picture

XRT as an index has a perfect track record. Since its inception at the peak of 'consumerism' in 2006 it has returned annualized return of 17.8%. The holdings of this ETF are plain vanilla box stores that you typically find in a shopping center: Sypervalu Inc owned supermarkets, Dollar Gen, 99 Cents Only, Dollar Tree, Areopostal, Abercombie, Whole Foods, Petsmart, Wal Mart, Autozone, Borders etc.

This index also bottomed in Nov 2009; that's 4 months before the market bottom in March 2010. It also peaked in Jan 2007, again well before the market tanked.

But you can ignore the index?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:23 | 1094989 The Axe
The Axe's picture

RoBo....AMZN is the retailer...thats off to the races..after a William Blair...cheerleading session

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:30 | 1095016 tmosley
tmosley's picture

I guess you, being a retard, never heard of silver, which is up 120%, beating the shit out of your precious retail fail.

Working on an 8th bankruptcy already, eh?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:38 | 1095067 lieutenantjohnchard
lieutenantjohnchard's picture

the catfish mouth gives a whole new meaning to the word retard. yoy bby down 20%, wmt down 5% and silver up 120%.

and he would have us believe he made so much money in the market he was able to retire.

i guess retire means different things to different people.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:48 | 1095089 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

RainbowTrader once again wrong today as he said today markets would be way up or way down...neither is the case. BTW stocks purchasing power adjusted are a big washout epic fail for the year. Cheer on, retard.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:10 | 1095277 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

At this pace, RoboTrader may break even on an 11 year timeline (from 2000), if he hadn't sold (inevitably) at the many lows along the way, when Bill Margin called.

Naw...he'd still have lost his ass, under that imaginary scenario, as many of the companies listed back then (and since) were either delisted, and are now penny stocks, or went belly up, aka to $0.00.

And watch the lemming dive off the cliff, holding hands once again. Committing Bernankincide is what they're calling it now.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:18 | 1095315 stormsailor
stormsailor's picture

yeah robo, this market is unreadable and makes absolutely no sense.


that short you called tuesday could have made a little coin, but if you held it you are about 8 points underwater.


chart analysis does not work anymore.  its an insiders game now.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:13 | 1094943 Horatio Beanblower
Horatio Beanblower's picture

Rick Santelli will be on the Peter Schiff Show soon.  Schiff is away; Michael Pento is sitting in -

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:15 | 1094945 thepigman
thepigman's picture

Lucky we have this market scam

going for us. Who cares if there's no

volume. No one will ever need to


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:16 | 1094956 thepigman
thepigman's picture

Heck, Robo can't even stay consistent.

Last time I looked he was bearish, and

here he is pumping rainbows and

unicorns again.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:16 | 1094947 Arch Duke Ferdinand
Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

Germane Topic

Congress vs Big Banks....Which is to Blame?....3/Revolution/Starve the Govenrnment...


"Wrong Side Up"....OT Comedy...2 min short...

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:15 | 1094948 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

Yep, I wish the gas prices were the only thing that upsets my comfort index.

Ignorance is bliss.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:18 | 1094954 Republican Lackey
Republican Lackey's picture

Remember back when, when we said the terrorists would not change our way of life? Oh, well.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:26 | 1094996 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

You mean the bankers?

Sure winning hearts and minds invading Libya to fight their civil war.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:30 | 1095017 Republican Lackey
Republican Lackey's picture

I mean Americans who gambled at the roulette table with real estate and now want to blame it on the bankers.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:35 | 1095044 BORT
BORT's picture

If it isn't marble and Brazilian Rosewood, it just won't hack it.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:17 | 1094960 pendragon
pendragon's picture

not sure if an index thats permanently negative can be called a comfort index.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:55 | 1095176 UninterestedObserver
UninterestedObserver's picture

Check - they'll rename it the discomfort index which will erase the negative so the reading will now be 48 and stawks will rally

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:19 | 1094963 thepigman
thepigman's picture

Best of all worlds. A manipulated market

and a shitty economy.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:39 | 1095407 Revolution_star...
Revolution_starts_now's picture

The economy is hard to fix, the market is much easier, and all our insider buddies make a killing in the process.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:22 | 1094973 alexwest
alexwest's picture



Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:24 | 1094991 gall batter
gall batter's picture

"...primarily at the pump"--i'm buying a bike.  purchasing food from farmers' market.  

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:26 | 1094994 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Washington D.C. (+Virginia & Maryland; government employees, contracts & gigs) & Manhattan (bailed out bankers & criminals) say:

What? Me Worry?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:24 | 1094995 thepigman
thepigman's picture

QE2=epic fail

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:28 | 1095010 Republican Lackey
Republican Lackey's picture

Epic fail = QE2

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:25 | 1094997 UGrev
UGrev's picture

Trickle up poverty, bitches.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:28 | 1095013 plocequ1
plocequ1's picture

My comfort level is always negative before my morning bowel movement. Rally on

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:32 | 1095030 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

So how is that F'ing Hope and Change working out?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:57 | 1095179 countryboy42
countryboy42's picture

Hell, I HOPE I still have some CHANGE left, so stay away from my couch!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:32 | 1095036 Battleaxe
Battleaxe's picture

But the local Ruth's Chris has been busy!?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:38 | 1095068 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

How can consumer confidence drop? Wall STreet CEOs are getting record high bonuses, banks are giving dividends again, Dow Jones is soaring....I mean, come on, isn't everything grand?


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:41 | 1095076 foxman
foxman's picture

But alas the RECOVERY continues.  We can't do anything to deter the emerging, almost self-sustaining recovery.  Feds gave a whopping $50 million to small business lending in 3 states this week to propel the recovery.  The housing market is not contracting, its just a frustratingly slow recovery.  Consumers are feeling the pinch because they are not focusing on the recovery at hand, it's everywhere!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:51 | 1095143 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

The Chinese 'DOW' market is hardly soaring, stocks are losing ground fast in purchasing power but the green coloration seems to make people think equities are up. 

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:04 | 1095233 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

The people are always fooled when real losses are turned into nominal gains, Bernanke knows this.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:33 | 1095380 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

And the technicians would agree. There's some proof here that the DOW, being just 30 stocks, is their favorite index to paint green, and it has been green on MANY days when broad internals were 'meh' to 'awful.'

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:56 | 1095170 sbenard
sbenard's picture

Perhaps they should change the name to the Consumer DIScomfort Index, since it would be far more appropriate!

But Wall Street still enjoys the comfort of its delusional oblivion!

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:01 | 1095226 sbenard
sbenard's picture

But at least INFLATION is soaring, along with the stock market! Aren't we just gleeful?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:07 | 1095259 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

Bullish.  Poor have no money for stocks.  As long as the rich keep getting richer and the HFT's keep humming it's all smooth sailing from here.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 11:31 | 1095366 velobabe
velobabe's picture

telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,000 consumers.

i cry bogus, to this so called comfort index. what a misleading word to use for a measurement of people and their lives.

how in the hell did they find a 1000 people that use telephones. this is not likely. they all have cell phones. who the heck uses telephones any more. have you noticed zerohedge doesn't have their three different contact numbers up any more. i believe they were land line numbers.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:08 | 1095532 linrom
linrom's picture

+1000, U of Michigan Consumer Index has a perfect record. It recently broke out from what I call the recession zone of 75.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 13:43 | 1095994 HedgeFundLIVE
HedgeFundLIVE's picture

how can you not use this as a shorting oppty with all this bearish stuff on zerohedge?:

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