US Consumer Confidence Falls

Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly fell in May to the lowest level in four months as Americans grew more pessimistic about the labor market.

The Conference Board’s confidence index decreased to 64.9 from a revised 68.7 in the prior month, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a reading of 69.6.

The weakest payroll gains in six months may raise concerns that economic growth is not fast enough to bring down the jobless rate. More employment is needed to boost consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“We are making progress when it comes to the labor market, but clearly this is another sign that it’s still very slow- going,” Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, whose forecast was closest. “When we see expectations get marked down, that can cause consumers to think twice about making big-ticket purchases.”

Stocks maintained gains after the figure, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbing 1.1 percent to 1,331.74 at 10:16 a.m. in New York.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities fell in the 12 months ended in March at the slowest pace in more than a year, other data today showed. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values declined 2.6 percent from a year earlier, the smallest decrease since December 2010, after a 3.5 percent drop in February, the group reported in New York.

Estimates for consumer confidence ranged from 62 to 74.1 in the Bloomberg survey of 70 economists. The measure averaged 53.7 during the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.


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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell