Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

Popular Consumer Confidence Measure Falls to Lowest Level Since December 2007

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
By for Profit Confidential

Popular-ConsumerConsumer spending in the U.S. economy looks to be in trouble.

A popular measure of U.S. consumer confidence, the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index fell 2.4% in May. It registered at 45.1, compared to 46.2 in April. What’s problematic is that this consumer confidence measure is only 0.7 points above the reading in December 2007, when the U.S. economy entered into a recession. (Source: Tipponline, last accessed May 7, 2013.) A reading below 50 indicates consumers have a pessimistic view of the U.S. economy.

This U.S. consumer confidence measure essentially has three different components. It asks consumers three questions: 1) how will the U.S. economy perform in the next six months; 2) what is the status of their personal financial outlook; and 3) how confident are they in federal economic policies? Of the three components, two witnessed a decline. Consumer confidence toward the U.S. economy had the biggest drop in May, down 8.5%.

As we all know, consumer confidence is essential to consumer spending, as consumers tend to hold back on their purchases if they believe economic conditions will become worse.

Another major obstacle in front of consumer spending, consumer credit in the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of only 5.7% in the first quarter of 2013. If this rate remains the same, then 2013 will post an increase in consumer credit, which was lower than the credit expansion rate of 2012. (Source: Federal Reserve, May 7, 2013.) When consumers borrow less, they spend less.

Adding to the misery of consumer confidence, jobs growth in the U.S. economy isn’t anywhere close to what it really should be. Last month, only 165,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy. As good as this may sound, any economist would agree we need to have about 250,000 jobs added each month in order to see sustainable growth in the jobs market. And the majority of new American jobs this year have been in low-wage-paying jobs.

  • Still worried about the economy? Become an elite charter member of George's DAILY PROFITS and you could...

    TRIPLE YOUR MONEY IN A MONTH!

    George gave us the $2.8-billion IT infrastructure provider, up 4,745.20%; the $1.8-billion advertising agency, up 1,295.44%; and the $762-million business software company, up 1,213.19%.

    Only charter members can follow George daily.

    Learn how here!

Consumer spending is a major part of the U.S. economy, and it can make or break America’s economic future.

Look at the chart below, which compares the gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S. economy (represented by the black line) and consumer spending (represented by the red line).

Gdp-gross-Domestic-Product-Index

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Consumer spending leads economic growth and contraction. For example, in 2008, consumer spending plummeted first, while the GDP followed after, moving lower.

Add to the poor confidence picture in the U.S. economy the fact that personal disposable income is falling in the U.S. and businesses’ inventories are rising—our economic picture is anything but bright. Hence my concern about the overpriced and overbought stock market.

Michael’s Personal Notes:

Exports from the Chinese economy increased 14.7% in April. This was a surprise, because analyst consensus estimates were expecting an increase of only 10.3%. The China General Administration of Customs reported the country had a surplus of $15.1 billion in April—it exported more than it imported. (Source: Reuters, May 8, 2013.)

This is a good sign for the Chinese economy; but the threats of an economic slowdown in the country still persist.

Looking closely at the data, exports from the Chinese economy to the U.S. fell 0.1% in April; and to the European Union, Chinese exports declined 6.4%. The economic slowdown in Europe is still a major issue and exports to the region will likely decline even further.

It is way too early to say the Chinese economy is coming back.

In the first quarter of 2013, the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Chinese economy only grew at an annual rate of 7.7%, compared to 7.9% growth in the last quarter of 2012. While this number looks great when measured against the growth in developed nations in the global economy, it’s nowhere close to the growth rate the Chinese economy has experienced in the past.

According to Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency, credit in the Chinese economy reached 198% relative to the country’s GDP at the end of 2012. In 2008, this number was only 125% of the GDP. (Source: Time, April 28, 2013.)

Similarly, the debts of local governments in the country are stacking higher, estimated to be $2.0 trillion, or about 25% of GDP. The Chinese economy may very well be faced with a financial crisis due to significant credit expansion in a very short period of time.

Dear reader, one good number doesn’t really mean economic conditions have changed.

I am watching developments in the Chinese economy very closely, because it can impact an already struggling global economy. As news of an economic slowdown in China has surfaced, industrial metals and other commodities have fallen in price, as the Chinese economy used to be a major consumer of these commodities. This will have an impact on U.S.-based companies that are involved in those sectors.

What He Said:

“There is no mixed signal about this: Foreclosures in the U.S. will continue to rise, the real estate market will get weaker, and the U.S. economy will get weaker. Smart investors should seriously consider unloading their stocks of consumer-products companies that produce nonessential goods.” Michael Lombardi in Profit Confidential, March 12, 2007. According to the Dow Jones Retail Index, retail stocks fell 42% from the spring of 2007 through November 2008.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Popular Consumer Confidence Measure Falls to Lowest Level Since December 2007, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

This is an entirely free service. No credit card required.

We hate spam as much as you do.
Check out our privacy policy.

Michael Lombardi - Economist, Financial AdvisorMichael bought his first stock when he was 17 years old. He quickly saw $2,000 of savings from summer jobs turn into $1,000. Determined not to lose money again on a stock, Michael started researching the market intensely, reading every book he could find on the topic and taking every course he could afford. It didn’t take long for Michael to start making money with stocks, and that led Michael to launch a newsletter on the stock market. Some of the stock recommendations in Michael's various financial newsletters have posted gains in excess of 500%! Michael has authored and published over one thousand articles on investment and money management. Michael became an active investor in real estate, art, precious metals and various businesses. Readers of the daily Profit Confidential e-letter are offered the benefit of the expertise Michael has gained in these sectors. Michael believes in successful stock picking as an important wealth accumulation tool. Married with two children, Michael received his Chartered Financial Planner designation from the Financial Planners Standards Council of Canada and his MBA from the Graduate Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Follow Michael and the latest from Profit Confidential on Twitter or Add Michael Lombardi to your Google+ circles

The Great Crash of 2014

A stock market crash bigger than what happened in 2008 and early 2009 is headed our way.

In fact, we are predicting this crash will be even more devastating than the 1929 crash…

…the ramifications of which will hit the economy and Americans deeper than anything we’ve ever seen.

Our 27-year-old research firm feels so strongly about this, we’ve just produced a video to warn investors called, “The Great Crash of 2014.”

In case you are not familiar with our research work on the stock market:

In late 2001, in the aftermath of 9/11, we told our clients to buy small-cap stocks. They rose about 100% after we made that call.

We were one of the first major advisors to turn bullish on gold.

Throughout 2002, we urged our readers to buy gold stocks; many of which doubled and even tripled in price.

In November of 2007, we started begging our customers to get out of the stock market. Shortly afterwards, it was widely recognized that October 2007 was the top for stocks.

We correctly predicted the crash in the stock market of 2008 and early 2009.

And in March of 2009, we started telling our readers to jump into small caps. The Russell 2000 gained about 175% from when we made that call in 2009 to today.

Many investors will find our next prediction hard to believe until they see all the proof we have to back it up.

Even if you don’t own stocks, what’s about to happen will affect you!

I urge you to be among the first to get our next major prediction.
See it here now in this just-released alarming video.