Despite tepid retail sales, near-stagnant job creation, meager economic growth, and a shaky housing market, American consumers either won’t be daunted or don’t care what the tea leaves say.
Consumer confidence rose last week for the fifth week in a row to the second-highest level since August, according to the Bloomberg consumer confidence index.
The confidence also reflected American consumers picking up the pace of retail spending in February, as retail sales climbed 0.3% for the month despite the cold weather blamed for previous bad economic reports.
The index rose to minus 27.6 in the period that ended March 9 from minus 28.5 the prior week.
The reading was second only to the minus 27.4 in the week ended December 22 as the strongest since mid-August.
Consumers surveyed were more optimistic about the economy than at any time in the last seven months, reflecting stocks near record highs.
Notably, consumer confidence and retail sales seem to be on track to converge.
(Chart courtesy @not_jim_cramer)