Market Overview

Consumer Confidence Falls in April, Hindered with Labor Worries

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index is an indicator intended to measure consumer confidence in the United States, which is classified as the level of optimism for the general economic condition of the United States. This Index is expressed through consumer's activities of savings and spending.

The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 69.2 in April, lower than analysts' estimate of 69.7. This is essentially bearish for the outlook of the US economy, as the consumer makes up two-thirds of GDP.

US equity markets spiked higher on heavy volume, after the release, mainly because of the upside surprise in new home sales.

According to the Conference Board's report, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined slightly in March, was virtually unchanged in April. The Index now stands at 69.2, down slightly from 69.5 in March. The Expectations Index declined to 81.1 from 82.5, while the Present Situation Index improved to 51.4 from 49.9 last month.

Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: “Consumer Confidence was virtually unchanged in April, following a modest decline in March. As was the case last month, the slight dip was prompted by a moderation in consumers' short-term outlook, while their assessment of current conditions continued to improve. Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic.”

Consumers' assessment of current conditions improved in April. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 15.3 percent from 14.3 percent. However, those claiming business conditions are “bad” edged up to 33.5 percent from 33.2 percent. Consumers' appraisal of the job market remained mixed. Those stating jobs are “hard to get” declined to 37.5 percent from 40.7 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 8.4 percent from 9.0 percent.


ACTION ITEMS:

Bullish:
Traders who believe that the Consumer Confidence Index is a leading indicator for the US economy, you might want to consider the following trades:
  • Long general retail companies like JC Pennny (NYSE: JCP) because as consumers remain confident about their situations, the more likely people will spend their residual income.
  • Also, long Consumer Discretionary companies like Target (NYSE: TGT) or the Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSE: XLY)
Bearish:
Traders who do not believe that the confidence index is a leading indicator for the general US economy, you may consider alternative positions:
  • Long Consumer Staple companies like Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Colgate (NYSE: CL) because even if less people are confident about economic outlook, they still need to buy staple products like shampoo and toothpaste.
  • Also, short big-ticket appliance makers like Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) because shares may be overbought.
Neither Benzinga nor its staff recommend that you buy, sell, or hold any security. We do not offer investment advice, personalized or otherwise. Benzinga recommends that you conduct your own due diligence and consult a certified financial professional for personalized advice about your financial situation.

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