Macro Economic Mashup: Consumer Sentiment Hits Another High while Case-Shiller Home Price Index Double Dips

Markets are down but recovering a bit this morning after macro economic news releases for housing and consumer sentiment:

Case-Shiller Home Price Index: It’s All About the Double-Dip

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index 10-City Composite was down 1.2% and the 20-City Composite fell 2.4% in December. Home prices fell in 19 of 20 MSAs (excluding Washington DC), dragging the National Home Price Index down 3.9% during the fourth quarter of 2010.

If you like lost decades, Detroit, Cleveland, and Las Vegas now have home prices below levels in January 2000. Shit.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s commented:

“We ended 2010 with a weak report. The National Index is down 4.1% from the fourth quarter of 2009 and 18 of 20 cities are down over the last 12 months. Both monthly Composites and the National Index are moving closer to their 2009 troughs. The National Index is within a percentage point of the low it set in the first quarter of 2009. Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker”

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Consumer Sentiment: Starting the Year on a High

Consumer Sentiment has been improving. This month the Consumer Confidence Index hit a 9-month high. The index rose to 70.4 (65 expected) from 64.8 last month.

Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said:

“The Consumer Confidence Index is now at a three-year high (Feb. 2008, 76.4), due to growing optimism about the short-term future. Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak. Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions.”

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved moderately in February. Those stating business conditions are “good” increased to 12.4 percent from 11.3 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” was unchanged at 39.6 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive than in January. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” rose to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent, while those stating jobs are “hard to get” decreased to 45.7 percent from 47.0 percent.

Consumers’ short-term outlook was more optimistic than in January. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 24.4 percent from 24.0 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen declined to 10.4 percent from 12.2 percent.

Consumers were mixed about the job market. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 19.8 percent from 20.8 percent, however, those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 15.4 percent from 21.2 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes rose to 17.3 percent from 15.3 percent.”

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