Americans Lose Faith In Stocks But Consumer Sentiment Rebounds In Feb

UMich’s preliminary February print of 99.9 appeared to buck the trend of recent ‘soft’ survey data and ‘hard’ real data, both of which had declined notably, but its final; print of 99.7 was even more ‘odd’.

More consumers reported that they had recently heard favorable news about recent economic developments in February than at any other time since 1984.

This is a rebound back near the Oct 2017 cycle highs for UMich confidence…

This is the second highest level for UMich headline confidence since 2004.

“Consumers based their optimism on favorable assessments of jobs, wages, and higher after-tax pay,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said in a statement.

“Economic news heard by consumers continued to be dominated by the tax reform legislation and net job gains, which was untarnished by the consensus view that interest rates would increase and stock prices would remain volatile.”

From a record high in January, UMich survey respondents lost some faith in the US stock market in February (as it crashed), but remain somewhat oddly near record highs in confidence about retiring comfortably…

The highest proportion of households since 1998 reported that their finances had improved compared with a year ago and anticipated continued gains during the year ahead.

Americans also appear to no longer believe in the Phillips curve either:

“Although consumers expected the unemployment rate to dip below 4% in 2018, only modest wage growth was anticipated.”

And finally, as a reminder, it appears the global synchronous recovery narrative is officially dead…

And before everyone blames Trump, this decline started in December (it just took stock markets 3 months to figure it out).