INSTANT VIEW: Consumer confidence hits four-month low
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest in four months in August on worries over high unemployment and dismal personal finances, though the mood managed to improve from earlier this month, a survey showed on Friday.
KEY POINTS: * The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its final index of confidence for August fell to 65.7 from 66.0 in July.
* That was the lowest since 65.1 in April but above economists' expectations for 64.5 and also higher than this month's preliminary reading of 63.2.
* Consumers rated the current economic conditions the worst since March, when the stock market hit 12-year lows. This index fell to 66.6 from 70.5 in July. However this was also an improvement from 64.9 earlier this month.
* Consumers' one-year inflation expectations fell to 2.8 percent from July's 2.9 percent. Five-year inflation expectations also dropped to 2.8 percent from July's 3.0 percent.
CARY LEAHEY, ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS, NEW YORK:
"Consumer pessimism was at its worst early in August, but now it has turned around. This is the final report for August so the market is not only going to look at the headline print, but the fact that the print in the second half of the month showed that you have reversed the bulk of the June to August decline. So that's good news.
"That said, the market is still very skeptical that you're going to get very big inventory bounce backed up by stronger consumer spending later this year."
TOM ALEXANDER, HEAD OF ALEXANDER TRADING, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
"How could consumer sentiment be showing any sort of robust trend line to upside? It would totally discredit the consumer if they haven't already discredited themselves. The market is getting nervous because it's at such lofty levels."
DAN COOK, SENIOR ANALYST, IGM MARKETS, CHICAGO:
"My biggest fear is that it doesn't matter how optimistic consumers are if they don't have jobs or money to spend. We saw data this morning that said personal income was flat. Spending is probably coming on credit, and that's scary. I think September's going to give us a smack down from this risk play.
"What I call a 'dash for trash' in the stock market will have to end. We've run so far, so fast, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when we see a good-sized correction. I think the dollar will come back strong as a safe-haven play."
CHRISTOPHER LOW, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FTN FINANCIAL, NEW YORK:
"It's not too bad. They improved from the preliminary readings. People are still optimistic about the future.
"This tells me consumers are still in rebuilding phase. Investors still have be worried about the sustainability of the recovery. It's clear to me that we cannot count on growth through next year as long as consumers are still on ropes."
DAN FARETTA, SENIOR MARKET STRATEGIST, LIND-WALDOCK, CHICAGO:
"The market was up earlier, we got a bounce off personal income, but now the Dow turned around on the sentiment data. That suggests a bit of buying exhaustion. Yesterday we had a big rally off the lows but we couldn't hold that. We're getting set up for a consolidation period.
"The fact that we moved down on positive news isn't a bullish sign. But lately we've had a lot of mixed reactions to news. The market will rally on bearish data or fall on bullish news. There's a lot of indecision in the market. I think a lot of people are waiting for a pullback."
MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock indexes lost ground. BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices rose. DOLLAR: U.S. dollar was little changed.
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