Surprise, surprise, surprise. Consumer confidence continues to plummet as the markets and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are weighed down by inflation and job losses.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers showed that confidence fell even more than expected and hit a 28-year low. Five-year inflation expectations, however, remained at their peak of 3.4%, reached in May, reports Burton Frierson for Reuters. The report also said consumers will spend less at least through the start of 2009.

Oil continued its streak, today rising to a new record high of $142.26, while world stocks fell to three-month lows in early trading, report Jane Merriman and Santosh Menon for Reuters. Gold rose to one-month highs, and U.S. corn futures also hit records.

In better news, the economic stimulus payments gave a much-needed jolt to household finances last month, pushing after-tax incomes up by their largest amount in 33 years, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. The money also boosted consumer spending by the largest amount in six months.

Economists are still worried that the lift the stimulus checks gave will be short-lived, and that once the checks are spent, the economy will face more risk of a deep recession.

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.

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