Instant View: February personal spending posts largest gain in 7 months

NEW YORK Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:52am EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer spending in February increased by the most in seven months even as income rose modestly, which could prompt analysts to scale back expectations of a sharp pull back in economic growth this quarter.

COMMENTS:

BORIS SCHLOSSBERG, DIRECTOR OF FX RESEARCH, GFT, JERSEY CITY

"Personal spending was more robust than expected and that's very encouraging. The increase in spending ties in with better employment data. This data is positive for risk overall, with the euro, pound, and Australian dollar responding more."

WAYNE KAUFMAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST AT JOHN THOMAS FINANCIAL IN NEW YORK

"Personal spending was a little better than expected, which is good, but personal income was a little light. So long as the consumer is spending, that's the biggie everyone is watching as they drive the economy. The economy is on a decent trajectory, but maybe not as strong as some would like."

VIMOMBI NSHOM, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS

"Spending shot up by 0.8% in February, flying past income's growth of 0.2% and consensus. Market analysts understood that the general trend of spending growth outpacing income gains that took shape last year, but did not expect such an exaggerated difference as market forecasts averaged income to rise 0.4% with spending up 0.3%. February's numbers extend on January's performance where revisions show income rose 0.2% (had been 0.3%) and spending rose 0.4% (0.2%). Both the headline and the real figures (which show disposable income falling while spending rose by the largest amount since September) add concern over the extent to which the recent optimistic economic activity reported can continue without the basic building blocks to expand an economy -- income to support spending -- forming."

MARKET REACTION

STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures hold onto earlier gains.

BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices turn higher.

FOREX: The dollar holds earlier losses versus euro and yen.

(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)

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