Consumer Confidence Hits Best Levels Since 2008

Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Bespoke Investment Group

Consumer Confidence for the month rose from 82.2 up to 85.2 in the month of June, and was better than the consensus expectation of 83.5. This month's reading was also the highest monthly reading since January 2008. Another important aspect of June's Consumer Confidence report is that if you look closely, it appears as though confidence has broken above the downtrend from the late 1990s.

While overall confidence has been improving, confidence among Americans is still divided between the "haves" and the "have-nots". The chart below shows Consumer Confidence broken out by people with incomes of more than $50K and people with incomes of between $35K and $50K. If you look at the long-term relationship between these two groups, higher-income Americans have typically had a higher level of confidence (which makes sense), but the two have traditionally tracked each other pretty closely. Coming out of the last recession, however, there has been a widening disparity between the two groups. While both were equally pessimistic at their lows, once the economy began to recover, confidence among higher-income Americans rebounded at a much faster pace. As of June, confidence for people with incomes of more than $50K was 111.62 (highest since September 2007), while the level for Americans with incomes of $35K to $50K was at just 79.62 (highest since February 2008).

The current gap of 31.86 points in confidence between the two income groups is the fifth-highest reading on record (going back to 1987). Additionally, of the four prior readings that were higher, all of them occurred in the last 17 months. The chart below shows the spread in confidence between the two groups on a six-month rolling basis. With this month's increase, the current six-month average gap between the two income levels stands at 31.10 and has never been higher.