Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Consumer confidence collapses

Now THAT was ugly -- the Conference Board's consumer confidence index plunged to 64.5 in March from 76.4 in February. That's the lowest reading in five years and far worse than the 73.5 number that economists were looking for. The outlook index, which measures what consumers think about the future of the U.S. economy, fell to 47.9 -- the lowest level since 1973.

I think a lot of this stems from the ongoing housing slump, and the recent stock market turmoil. Speaking of which, the latest figures on the housing front were released just this morning. The S&P/Case-Shiller index (PDF link) of home prices in 20 top metropolitan areas fell 10.7% year-over-year in January. That was worse than the 9% drop in December and the 13th straight fall. The declines were widespread, with 19 of 20 cities reporting a YOY fall (led by Las Vegas and Miami at -19.3%, with Phoenix (-18.2%) and San Diego (-16.7%) not far behind).


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