Consumer confidence dips 1.8 points
In a slight reversal from its positive June outlook, The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index dipped 1.8 points to 80.3 in July, down from last month’s 82.1.
Meanwhile, the Present Situation Index increased to 73.6 from 68.7, with more consumers vetting business conditions as "good" in July, and fewer delivering a "bad" vote. Still, those viewing conditions as "good" remain in the slight minority (20.9% versus 24.9%). Current job availability sentiment reflected a similar pattern, with the gap between "plentiful" and "hard to get" narrowing slightly in July. However, there’s still a vast lead in the latter category, with 35.5% claiming jobs are "hard to get" and 12.2% claiming the opposite.
The Expectations Index decreased from last month’s 91.1 to 84.7, with fewer consumers expecting the short-term business outlook to improve over the next six months, though the amount of people expecting it to worsen remained stagnant. Consumers’ expectations for jobs availability decreased, with fewer expecting a salary increase, though the amount of consumers expecting a decrease also declined.
In a broader sense, where year-ago levels are concerned, the Index continues to point to a strong market recovery.
“Consumer Confidence fell slightly in July, precipitated by a weakening in consumers’ economic and job expectations," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "However, confidence remains well above the levels of a year ago. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions continues to gain ground and expectations remain in expansionary territory despite the July retreat. Overall, indications are that the economy is strengthening and may even gain some momentum in the months ahead.”
Home price index jumps
The Standard & Poor/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices included some good news for the housing market, as 10- and 20-city composites hit the highest year-over-year gains since March 2006.
“Home prices continue to strengthen,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Two cities — Dallas and Denver — set new highs, surpassing their pre-crisis levels and five cities — Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle — posted monthly gains of over 3%, also a first-time event.”
Compared with a year ago, the 20-city composite increased 12.2%. On a month-to-month basis, the index increased 2.6%.
The growth was across the board. In fact, the data through the end of May shows that 20 cities measured by the index increased from May 2012 to May 2013 — and also from April 2013 to May 2013.