NEW YORK (4/19/13)--Buoyed by record stock prices and a housing market rebound, U.S. consumer sentiment surged last week to the highest level in more than five years. Americans say they believe the economic expansion will continue, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.
The index rose to -29.2 for the week ended April 14--the highest level since January 2008--from -34 the prior week (Bloomberg.com April 18).
Each of the index's three subcomponents increased. Sentiment over the buying climate gained 5.7 points, the personal finances sub-index advanced 4.5 points, and perceptions of the state of the economy went up four points (Moody's Economy.com April 18).
Cheaper grocery bills and lower gasoline prices boosted perceptions of personal finances and the buying climate. Views of the state of the economy were bolstered by the ongoing improvement in the housing market, Moody's said.
Last week's confidence boost was the largest in more than a year. Because it was broad-based--with all geographic regions, every age group and most income brackets showing a gain--indications are that any decline in consumer spending will be short-lived, Bloomberg said.
The odds of a sustainable economic recovery appear particularly bright to upper-income citizens, said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.