Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advances to Seven-Week High on Finances

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumer comfort advanced to a seven-week high as Americans’ confidence in their personal finances increased by the most since February, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index figures showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended Oct. 29)

  • Main index rose to 51.7 from 51
  • Measure of personal finances increased to 60.6 from 58.1; the 2.5-point gain was most since end of February
  • Gauge of current views on the economy at 51.8 after 51.5
  • Index of buying climate eased to 42.6 from 43.4

Key Takeaways

The surge in sentiment about personal finances to a five-month high probably reflects stock prices that keep hitting records, a drop in gasoline prices since a September peak and higher property values. Comfort among respondents who are homeowners advanced last week to the strongest level in almost 17 years.

While the main comfort index remains below the 16-year-high it reached just before hurricanes Harvey and Hurricane Irma, all three subindexes are above their long-term averages and indicate consumer spending -- about 70 percent of the U.S. economy -- should continue to contribute to growth.

Other Details

  • Gauge of comfort among those earning more than $50,000 a year is strongest since May
  • The partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans narrowed for the first time in five weeks
  • Index rose to a six-month high in the Midwest; comfort fell in Northeast and South

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