Saturday, 17 July 2010

US consumer confidence and stock market plunge

US consumer confidence fell sharply in July. Bloomberg reports:

Confidence among U.S. consumers tumbled in July to the lowest level in a year, heightening the risk of a slowdown in economic growth.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment decreased to 66.5, the lowest since August and less than the most pessimistic forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News...

The estimates for the confidence measure ranged from 71 to 78, according to the survey of 62 economists. The 9.5-point decline from June’s final reading of 76 was the biggest since October 2008.

Investors reacted negatively.

Stocks dropped, wiping out a weekly advance, as revenue at Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and General Electric Co. fell short of analyst estimates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 2.9 percent to close at 1,064.88 in New York. The S&P Consumer Discretionary Index, which includes Home Depot Inc. and Comcast Corp., fell 3.5 percent.

Another report showed that consumer prices fell in June.

A report from the Labor Department showed consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in June, a third consecutive decrease. The decrease brought the gain in the cost of living over the past 12 months down to 1.1 percent from 2 percent in the year ended May.

Costs of goods and services excluding food and energy were up 0.2 percent, more than forecast and the biggest gain since October.

US stocks were not the only ones faring badly on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Japanese stocks had also suffered a similarly large fall, the Nikkei 225 falling 2.9 percent to 9,408.36. Japan's tertiary index fell 0.9 percent in May.

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