Aug 28

Despite Record High Stocks, Consumer Confidence Crashes to 9 Month Low (ZeroHedge, Aug 28, 2012):

With inflation expectations soaring and jobs plentiful relative to hard-to-get falling slightly, Consumer Confidence plunged its most in 10 months to a level not seen since November of last year. It seems that despite all the hopes and prayers priced into US equity market valuations, the US Consumer remains unimpressed, unhappy, and unemployed. Of course, the ‘good is bad, bad is better’ market has interpreted this as a clear QE-on flag (for this millisecond anyway).Consumer Confidence is at a 9 month low…

having crashed at its fastest pace in 10 months…

Charts: Bloomberg

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Oct 31

Recovery!

us-unemployment
Long-term unemployment


Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) — Spending by U.S. consumers fell in September for the first time in five months after the government’s auto-rebate program expired.

The 0.5 percent decrease in purchases matched the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 1.4 percent jump in the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes were unchanged, while the savings rate climbed.

Stagnant wages and concern over mounting unemployment are causing confidence to wane, raising the risk that consumers will retrench in coming months as government assistance programs run out. The report also showed inflation was lower than the Federal Reserve’s long-term projection, indicating the policy makers can keep rates low.

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Oct 31

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — U.S. consumer spending tumbled in September and a purchasing managers’ survey showed the biggest deterioration since 1968, foreshadowing a deepening economic slump.

“Consumers have thrown in the towel,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, who correctly forecast the drop in purchases. “They have no choice but to cut back on spending in a very big way. This is going to be a fairly deep, long recession.”

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Aug 26

The number of unsold homes on the market in the United States is at levels not seen for at least 40 years, and prices are continuing to slide, according to a disheartening new survey.

With participants throughout the financial system saying that the credit crisis cannot end until the US housing market stabilises, the monthly data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) failed to show any unequivocal improvement.

The July figures did show an increase in the number of buyers, lured by the prospect of getting a long-term bargain. However, two out of every five sales are now distressed sales – such as foreclosed homes put on the market by banks – and desperate sellers are continuing to drop their prices.

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Jun 27

June 27 (Bloomberg) — European confidence dropped more than economists forecast this month and retail sales plunged, signaling that economic growth is continuing to cool even as the European Central Bank prepares to lift interest rates to a seven-year high to tackle inflation.

An index measuring sentiment in the euro area fell to 94.9, the lowest since May 2005, from 97.6 the previous month, the European Commission in Brussels said today. Separate reports showed European retail sales plummeted, while inflation accelerated in Germany and Spain.

Stocks fell in Europe today as oil climbed to a record above $140 a barrel and Carrefour SA, Europe’s biggest retailer, scaled back its earnings forecast. With soaring food and energy prices boosting inflation, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet has said the bank may raise the benchmark rate next week by a quarter point to 4.25 percent.

``The economy has hit the wall,” said Ken Wattret, senior economist at BNP Paribas SA in London. ECB officials “run the risk of tipping the euro area into a recession” as the inflation outlook increases the risk that the central bank “may need to go beyond one rate rise.”

Confidence among the manufacturing, construction and retail industries across the 15 nations that share the euro declined this month, as did consumer sentiment, according to today’s commission report.

The Bloomberg retail index, based on a survey of more than 1,000 executives compiled by Markit Economics, fell to 44 this month from 53.1 in May. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. Europe’s manufacturing and services industries also contracted this month.

Export Growth

The euro has increased 17 percent against the dollar in the last 12 months, threatening export growth, and was at $1.5770 today. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index fell 1.3 percent to 284.67 as of 11:29 a.m. in Brussels.

Separate figures today showed France’s economy expanded less than initially estimated in the first quarter as household spending, the driving force of growth, stagnated. U.K. first- quarter growth was revised lower today.

ECB council member Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez said today a July rate increase is not a certainty.

“Nothing is inevitable in life,” Ordonez told reporters in Rome today. “What we said was that the increase is not certain, but possible.”

Still, the ECB remains focused on consumer-price growth, according to ECB Executive Board member Juergen Stark. He said yesterday the bank sees its primary aim as being to “firmly anchor inflation expectations.”

16-Year High

Euro-area inflation reached a 16-year high of 3.7 percent in May. In Spain, inflation accelerated to 5.1 percent this month, the fastest on record, according to data today. Inflation in four German states also accelerated this month.

Oil prices have doubled in a year and Libyan National Oil Corp. Chairman Shokri Ghanem said yesterday that $150 a barrel may be “around the corner.”

Companies expect to raise prices more than previously anticipated to recover soaring costs, the commission report showed. A gauge of companies’ selling-price expectations rose to 18 in June from 16 in May, which compares with an average reading of 6 over the last 18 years. Consumers also expect prices to rise more sharply than they did last month.

The “worrying combination” of falling confidence and rising price expectations, “will add to fears of stagflation in the euro zone,” said Martin van Vliet, an economist at ING Group in Amsterdam.

`Remain Elevated’

“Inflation is likely to remain elevated for a longer period than we initially expected,” EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in London today. It “should only begin to show a significant deceleration around the end of this year, although further possible rises in the price of oil and agricultural products cannot be ruled out.”

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Jun 26

June 25 (Bloomberg) — American Express Co., the biggest U.S. credit-card company by purchases and cash advances, said customers are falling further behind on their debt, signaling the economy is worsening.

“Business conditions continue to weaken in the U.S. and so far this month we have seen credit indicators deteriorate beyond our expectations,” Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault said in a statement today announcing the company would receive as much as $1.8 billion in a settlement with competitor MasterCard Inc.

American Express and rivals Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services have fallen by more than a third in the past 12 months in New York trading as consumers absorb the housing slump, rising unemployment and higher food and fuel bills. New York-based American Express adopted a “cautious view” for the year in January after cardholder spending slowed and overdue payments rose in December.

“If you look at the employment situation, clearly that’s deteriorated, and consumer confidence is down as well,” said Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst with KBW Inc. in New York who has a “market perform” rating on the stock. “Both play a key role in the credit-card industry.”

The Federal Reserve today left its benchmark interest rate at 2 percent, saying “uncertainty about the inflation outlook remains high.” Consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in the 12 months ended in May, the fastest pace since January, while the unemployment rate rose by the most in more than two decades.

Consumer Confidence

Confidence among Americans dropped to the lowest level in 16 years, the Conference Board said yesterday.

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Mar 15

Consumer Confidence Plunges While Wholesale Inflation Rises at Fastest Pace in 26 Years

WASHINGTON (AP) — In more bad economic news, consumer confidence and home prices posted sharp declines while higher costs for such basics as food, energy and medicine left wholesale inflation rising at a pace unseen since late 1981.

The new reports Tuesday documented the latest in a series of blows to the economy as a prolonged housing downturn has pushed the country close to a recession. Continue reading »

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