'Confidence Gap' Widens To Record Levels

Includes: PMR, RETL, RTH, XRT
by: Bespoke Investment Group

For more than a year now, we have been highlighting the growing "confidence gap" among Americans based on income. While it is common for wealthier people to be more confident than poorer people, the discrepancy in confidence levels continues to be at record levels. More recently, there has been growing commentary regarding this disparity's impact on the economy in the form of weak sales from low income retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), while retailers to the higher end and luxury markets have been holding up much better.

In the latest Consumer Confidence report released earlier this week, sentiment among Americans making more than $50K per year was at a level of 103.5. Meanwhile, for Americans with annual incomes of between $35K and $50K, confidence this month was at a level of 80.8. That works out to a spread of 22.7. Due to the fact that confidence among lower income Americans increased this month, the spread between the two income levels actually narrowed a bit when just looking at this month. That being said, on a six-month moving average basis, the spread between the two income groups is now at a record high of 27.85.