Wednesday, 29 December 2010

US consumer confidence down, holiday spending up

US consumer confidence fell in December, according to the Conference Board. Bloomberg reports:

Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly fell in December, restrained by concern that jobs will remain scarce in 2011.

The Conference Board’s confidence index unexpectedly fell to 52.5, lower than the most pessimistic forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the New York-based research group showed today...

The loss of confidence is at odds with a report from the University of Michigan that showed sentiment improved to a six- month high in December, and with data showing holiday spending posted the biggest gain in five years...

Retailers’ 2010 holiday sales jumped 5.5 percent for the best performance since 2005, said MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which measures retail sales by all payment forms. That compared with a 4.1 percent gain a year earlier. The numbers include Internet sales and exclude automobile purchases.

Meanwhile, home prices have also been falling.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 0.8 percent in October from the same month in 2009, the biggest year-over-year decline since December of last year, the group said today. The decrease exceeded the 0.2 percent drop projected by the median forecast of economists surveyed...

The home-price gauge fell 1 percent in October from the prior month after adjusting for seasonal variations, matching September’s drop which was larger than previously estimated.

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