Now THAT was ugly -- The Conference Board's consumer confidence index plunged to 38 in October from a revised 61.4 in September. Not only was that far worse than the 52 reading economists were looking for, it was also the worst reading in the history of the indicator, which was first published as a monthly indicator in 1967.
Other details: The present situation index fell to 41.9 from 61.1 and the expectations index dropped to 35.5 from 61.5. The percentage of respondents saying job are hard to get jumped to 37.2 from 32.2, while the percentage of those who said employment opportunities are plentiful dropped to 8.9 from 12.6. A slightly higher percentage of respondents said they would buy a home (2.7% vs. 2.3% in September). But buying plans for autos (to 4.4% from 4.9%) and major appliances (to 25.9% from 29%) fell.