The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 75 points in February, meaning that Americans are feeling nervous about business conditions and job prospects. It’s the lowest reading since February 2003, when the index registered a 64.8, reports Eileen Alt Powell for the Associated Press.
The expectations index, which gauges outlook for the next six months, isn’t doing much better. It dropped to 57.9, its lowest figure in 17 years.
In the housing sector, Standard & Poor’s reported that home prices in the United States dropped 8.9% in the last quarter of 2007, says J.W. Elphinstone for the Associated Press. The S&P/Case-Schiller home price indexes show year-over-year drops in 17 metropolitan areas and double digit declines in eight of them. This follows bad news from yesterday that existing home sales were at a nine-year low.
Only three metro areas showed price increases: Charlotte, NC, Portland, OR and Seattle.
So far in trading this morning, real estate and retail ETFs don’t seem to be taking much of a hit on the news. In fact, SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB) and iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (ITB) were up more than 6% in midday trading. Retail-related ETFs were up slightly, as well, including the Retail HOLDRs (RTH) and SPDR S&P Retail (XRT).
Is this more bargain-hunting as investors suspect that the bottom is near?
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.