The U.S. consumer confidence rise to a new 17-year high
The U.S. consumer confidence rise to a new 17-year high of 130.8 from 124.3 (was 125.4) in January reflected a surge in the current conditions measure, alongside a two-month recovery in expectations after a big December drop. The various consumer confidence gauges have exhibited a February updraft to remarkably high levels. Analysts've seen a big over-performance for the various confidence measures since 2016 relative to the lean path for consumption and payrolls, following an historically typical gap between 2014 and 2016, and oddly weak confidence readings through the first five years of the expansion. Confidence, producer sentiment and small business optimism have climbed since October of 2016 thanks to a factory rebound that is trimming excess capacity, a global growth rebound with faster U.S. GDP growth, and a recent lift from tax cuts, the budget bill, high equity prices despite the February correction, and a continued uptrend in home prices. For other February surveys, the Michigan sentiment index rose to 99.9 in February from 95.7, the IBD/TIPP index popped to a 56.7 new cycle-high from 55.1, and the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index is forming a 56.0 cycle-high average in February from 53.9 in January.