NEW YORK (8/19/13)--With Americans confronting escalating interest rates and slowing economic growth, U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped in August from a six-year high, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Confidence Index (The New York Times, Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com Aug. 16).
The index fell to 80 from 85.1 in July--the highest reading since July 2007. Economists had forecast an August reading of 85.2, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Rising mortgage rates could take the steam out of housing-market momentum that has added to economic growth nationwide, Bloomberg said.
However, rising personal wealth connected to stock portfolios and home values are helping to mitigate the effects of federal government budget cuts and higher payroll taxes instituted earlier in 2013, said Bloomberg.
Although the slightly rising mortgage interest rates never help the housing market, there remains a backdrop of what appears to be an ongoing improvement in the housing market, Bloomberg added.