Consumer Comfort in U.S. Falls on Dimmer Views of Buying Climate

(Bloomberg) -- Americans’ sentiment fell for the first time in three weeks as a gauge of attitudes toward making purchases slid to the lowest since June, a possible sign spending may be less robust as the holiday shopping season begins.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined to 60.5 in the week ended Nov. 12 from 61.3, while a gauge of buying climate views fell to 48.9 from 50.1, indicating respondents feel more negatively than positively about buying items they want and need. Even with the decrease, the main index has held above 60 for five weeks, the longest such streak in almost 18 years.

Key Insights

  • The gauge of personal finances fell to 66.2 from 67 for the first drop in three weeks, following declines in U.S. stocks that have almost erased the advance for this year.
  • An index of views of the economy pulled back to 66.5 from a 17-year high of 66.9.
  • The comfort gauges generally remain elevated as a strong job market and robust economy help consumers look beyond the trade war and volatility in stocks.
  • While the partisan gap remains wide, the gauge for Democrats climbed to the highest since February after the party won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.

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  • Measures for renters and those working part time both rose to the highest since 2001
  • Sentiment among black respondents rose to seven-week high; fell to five-week low among white respondents

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