Fall in Consumer Confidence Jolts Markets

The latest data from the Conference Board jolted markets today as the Nasdaq and Dow fell by about 1 percent after the news.

Consumer confidence fell by a significant 10 points in February to 46.0; January’s reading came in at a revised 56.5. The expectations index fell more than 13 points to 63.8 and the present situation index fell nearly 6 points to 19.4.

What’s to blame for the surprising numbers? Pick a card: income, employment, business conditions. Or maybe we should look at the Washington zeitgeist these days, which may trump all.

The one bright spot remaining is consumer spending, which indicates that no matter how pissed off people are, they still need stuff.