Just yesterday, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence is up in May -- way up. But an updated reading from Gallup says otherwise. Consumer confidence may have actually fallen last week.
The Conference's Board reading only went through May 18th. But Gallup provides weekly poll results on consumer confidence. So it has new data through May 23rd. Here's what it shows:
Although Gallup's data doesn't precisely coincide with the Conference Board's magnitudes prior to May 23rd, they both agree that confidence had risen since March through mid-May. But last week, that ending May 23rd, Gallup saw a big 5-point drop. That erased its April gain, to put it back at late-March levels.
What happened last week? Gallup says:
This likely reflects fallout from the European financial crisis manifested in the declining U.S. stock market, and not included in Tuesday's consumer confidence report.
So perhaps Europe and other general economic worries are beginning to weigh on American consumers. The stock market, in particular, could be a major area of anxiety. It's down about 10% since its April high. Even if consumers aren't worried about Europe, they may have felt a hit to their portfolios over the past month.
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