Every month the University of Michigan comes out with its Surveys of Consumers which includes its Index of Consumer Sentiment. This index measures the degree to which U.S. consumers feel confident about their family and the nation’s finances. In April this measure of financial confidence fell for the 4th consecutive month to 89.7, down from 95.9 a year ago. This index is now lower than any month since November 2014, with the exception of last September. The consumer expectations portion of the index has now fallen from substantially from highs a year ago, from 88.8 in April 2015 to 79.6 in April 2016.
In my last couple articles, I’ve reviewed some economic and financial statistics that show some weakness in the U.S. economy. Perhaps such concern is rapidly fading now in the midst of a surging stock market and some favorable economic reports. One of those areas of supposed strength in the economy is in the auto industry, which appears to be in great shape. A newspaper headline from last week proclaimed “U.S. auto sales headed toward best month in 10 years.” The article then went on to detail sales increases in the auto industry in March, particularly among trucks and SUVs. Nissan had their best month ever, and Ford and Fiat Chrysler had their best March sales month in a decade. The overall sales increase for March was about 7%, totaling about 1.66 million cars, which would be the best U.S. sales for any month since July 2005.
David A. Pace, CFA
Note: These comments and articles are for informational purposes only. Nothing in these articles are meant to provide specific investment advice and are not a substitute for professional advice from a qualified adviser. Since every investor's investment and personal circumstances are unique, he or she should always enlist the help of a competent and trustworthy professional in addressing their financial needs.