Having staggered along the bottom, mired in misery and reality, for over 3 years, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index finally signaled depression-fatigue in January of this year and started to break out - albeit to historically still low levels. This was then heralded in self-fulfilling style as an indication that everything was good again in the world, money would come off the sidelines, consumers would buy more iPads and American cars, and all would be well in the world. Well the sad reality is that the last 3 weeks - as stocks have begun to lag, economic data has begun to reflect an un-warmed winter reality, and Europe's conflagration reignites - have seen the largest collapse in consumer comfort in over 3 years and has fallen to 3-month lows. Digging into the detail is even more worrisome as in the last 3 weeks the comfort with personal finances has fallen by the most ever and back to six-month lows.
The lower pane shows the percentage change in Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort (a drop on a negative number there BBG's chart assigns it a positive) - which has not fallen this much since Feb 2008!
and stunningly - comfort with personal finances has crashed in the last 3 weeks...