What, me worry?
That might be the new attitude of consumers who, according to The Conference Board, started to cheer up as the divisive campaign season and cliff-hanger election wrapped up, leaving Donald Trump as president-elect.
The analytics firm’s closely watched Consumer Confidence Index shot up to 107.1 for November, up from 100.8 in October and much stronger than the 101.1 economists projected.
“Consumer confidence improved in November after a moderate decline in October, and is once again at prerecession levels,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.
The index stood at 111.9 in July 2007.
“A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a more optimistic short-term outlook helped boost confidence,” Franco said. “And while the majority of consumers were surveyed before the presidential election, it appears from the small sample of postelection responses that consumers’ optimism was not impacted by the outcome. With the holiday season upon us, a more confident consumer should be welcome news for retailers.”
Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight, noted that sentiment “made huge strides in November, recouping all the territory it had lost in October.”
“In October, consumer confidence took a serious hit and was driven mostly by heightened levels of political uncertainty,” Christopher said. “After the presidential election and the ensuing strong stock market performance, consumer mood brightened considerably. This report is good news for many retailers, especially as we are entering the last few weeks of the most important shopping season of the year. Higher levels of consumer confidence assist in promoting consumer spending.”
That optimism, however, did not translate into stock market gains for retailers.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was fractionally down at 1,372.69 at noon as the Dow Jones Industrial Average perked up 0.2 percent to 19,126.73.
Among the gainers in the fashion industry and related sectors were Tiffany & Co., which rose 5.1 percent to $82.13 after posting a third-quarter sales gain; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.3 percent to $9.51; Lululemon Athletica Inc., 1.7 percent to $58.17; Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., 1.2 percent to $94.90; Target Corp., 1 percent to $78.46, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 0.7 percent to $71.67.