April 29, 2003


Consumer Confidence Rises From 61 to 81 (ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, 4/29/03, AP)
Consumer confidence, which had declined for four consecutive months,improved sharply in April, helped by a swift outcome in the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 81.0 from a revised 61.4 in March, the New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday. That was far better than the reading of 70 that analysts had been expecting. [...]

This post-war surge differs from the one after the Persian Gulf War in 1991 in that both components of the index - the expectations index and the present situation index - posted gains.

The Expectations Index rose to 84.8 from 61.4. The Present Situation Index improved to 75.3 from 61.4.

"The increase in the Present Situation Index, especially in labor market conditions, may very well signal a turnaround in confidence and a more favorable outlook for consumer spending," Franco said.

Mark Vitner, an economist at Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C., said he was surprised by the magnitude of the increase and that consumers believed that economic conditions had already improved.

Given that the only problem with the economy is one of confidence, this pretty much ends any suspense about the 2004 election, with the possible exception of whether John Kerry will carry MA or go 0-fer (we don't count DC). Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2003 6:28 PM
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