OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Strong Consumer Confidence Sets Stage for a Strong Retail Season

Retail

By Donald Applegarth

A newly-released consumer survey indicates continued enthusiasm for the holiday shopping season.

According to our friends at The Private Bank, a newly-released survey indicates that Americans' confidence surged to a new post-recession high this month, boosting hopes for stronger consumer spending in coming months as gasoline prices tumble. The University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment increased this month to 93.8, the highest since January 2007, from a prior reading of 88.8. The month's gain put the index above its average in the five years leading up to the last recession that began in December 2007. The gauge of current conditions, which measures Americans' views of their personal finances, increased to the highest level since February 2007, while the gauge of expectations about the economy six months from now was the strongest since January 2007. The report also showed that despite the recent decline in fuel prices, Americans expected higher inflation ahead as the one-year outlook for inflation rose to 2.9% from 2.8% in November.

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