Consumer Confidence Survey Drops, Misses Expectations
Big surprise in the Conf Board consumer confidence index, which posted a September reading of 53, down from 54.5 in August, and an expected reading by "economists" of 57. The market, which trades solely on macro headlines these days, takes a brief dive. Expect this not to last as window dressing time promptly regains a foothold, and bad news continues to be good news. From the Conference Board:
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved in
August, dipped in September. The Index now stands at 53.1 (1985=100),
down from 54.5 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 22.7
from 25.4. The Expectations Index declined to 73.3 from 73.8 last month.
Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research
Center: "Consumer Confidence, which had improved in August, retreated
slightly in September. The Present Situation Index decreased, as
consumers viewed both current business conditions and the labor market
less favorably than last month. While not as pessimistic as earlier
this year, consumers remain quite apprehensive about the short-term
outlook and their incomes. With the holiday season quickly approaching,
this is not very encouraging news."
Consumers' assessment of current conditions was less favorable in
September. Those claiming business conditions are "bad" increased to
46.3 percent from 44.6 percent, while those claiming conditions are
"good" increased to 8.7 percent from 8.5 percent. Consumers' appraisal
of the job market was also less favorable. Those claiming jobs are
"hard to get" increased to 47.0 percent from 44.3 percent, while those
claiming jobs are "plentiful" decreased to 3.4 percent from 4.3 percent.
Consumers' short-term outlook was also slightly more pessimistic.
Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next
six months decreased to 21.3 percent from 22.2 percent, while those
expecting conditions to worsen decreased to 15.0 percent from 15.2
Most importantly, the job outlook is looking about as dreary as ever:
The labor market outlook was virtually unchanged. Those expecting more
jobs in the months ahead edged down to 17.9 percent from 18.0 percent,
while those expecting fewer jobs remained the same at 23.1 percent. The
proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes
increased slightly to 11.2 percent from 10.8 percent.
Curiously, equities today have dislocated from the tick-for-tick currency driver over the past week as the strenghtening dollar is no longer relevant at all, at least in the stock market.