The Conference Board has released its Consumer Confidence Index for February, and the news is not good. After increasing to 79.4 in January, the reading fell to 78.1 in February. Bloomberg was actually looking for a slight uptick with a consensus estimate at 80.1, and the range was 78.0 to 82.0 for comparison.
The decline was shown to be most dominated by the Expectations Index as it fell from 80.8 in January down to 75.7 in February. A slight contrast is that the Present Situation Index gained from 77.3 in January to 81.7 in February..
In short, confidence fell when it was supposed to rise. It was also almost as bad as the worst estimate of all economists.
Tuesday's weak report was blamed on a concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs, and earnings. The Present Situation Index ironically is at its highest level in almost six years (April 2008). Unfortunately, they also do not foresee the economy gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead.
Here were some data points:
- Those claiming business conditions are "good" increased to 21.5 percent from 20.8 percent.
- Those claiming business conditions are "bad" declined to 22.6 percent from 23.4 percent.
- Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased to 13.9 percent from 12.5 percent.
- Those saying jobs are "hard to get" decreased slightly to 32.5 percent from 32.7 percent.
- The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 16.3 percent from 17.0 percent.
- The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to worsen increased to 13.3 percent from 12.2 percent.
- Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead declined to 13.3 percent from 15.1 percent.
- Those anticipating fewer jobs increased to 20.6 percent from 19.0 percent.
- The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 16.6 percent to 15.4 percent.
- The percentage of consumers expecting a decrease in their incomes also declined, from 13.9 percent to 13.1 percent.
Stocks remain directionless so far on Tuesday with the S&P 500 Index down 1.54 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by about 4 points. Just keep in mind that the S&P 500 hit a new all-time again on Monday.
Filed under: Economy