Sometimes, headlines are misleading. They are a form of bait and switch. Here was the headline:
Consumer Confidence in U.S.
Increases for a Second Week in
That looked good. Then reality set in. Pay attention to the word minus.
Consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed for a second week as Americans became less pessimistic about the prospects for the world’s largest economy.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (COMFCOMF) rose to minus 44.8 in the period to Jan. 29 from minus 46.4 the previous week. A measure of Americans’ view of the state of economy climbed to the highest since June. . . .
All three components of the weekly consumer comfort index improved. The measure of Americans’ views of the state of the economy rose to minus 79.1 last week from minus 81.1 the prior period. The gauge of personal finances climbed to minus 4.5 from minus 6.9. An index of the buying climate rose to minus 50.8 from minus 51.3.
The Bloomberg comfort survey has a 3-point margin of error, and the index has been stuck below minus 40 — the level associated with recessions or their aftermath — since the end of February 2011. The confidence gauge, which began December 1985, averaged minus 46.8 last year, compared with minus 45.7 for 2010 and minus 47.9 in 2009, the worst full-year reading on record.
Forty-one percent of survey respondents said the economy is in “poor” shape, the fewest since March.
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