Surge in Consumer Confidence Turns to ‘Dismal’ Retail Sales beyond Autos, Gasoline

Pundits sent back to the drawing board.
Consumer sentiment surveys have captured the ‘Trump Effect’ elegantly. All major sentiment surveys agree: Consumer confidence has surged since the election. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey, released today, at 98.1 – while down a tiny 0.1 from the miraculous post-election jump a month ago – was still the second highest in 12 years, last month having been the highest.
But there’s now an intense partisan line dividing how consumers feel about the economy.
‘The post-election surge in optimism was accompanied by an unprecedented degree of both positive and negative concerns about the incoming administration spontaneously mentioned when asked about economic news,’ explained the survey’s chief economist, Richard Curtin.
This partisan divide between those who favorably mentioned the policies of the next government, and those who unfavorably mentioned them reached an extraordinary gap of 42.7 points in the expectation index.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Jan 13, 2017.