Economic data

April Consumer Confidence rose to 57.9 from 52.3 and was 4.4 pts above expectations. It’s the highest level since Sept ’08 as the Present Situation rose 3.4 pts and Expectations were up 7.2 pts. While a definite improvement off the record low of 20.2 in Dec ’09, the high in the last cycle was 138.50 in ’07. The answers to the labor market questions were better. Those that said jobs were Plentiful rose .8 pts to 4.8, the most since May ’09 and those that said jobs were Hard To Get fell 1.3 pts to the lowest since Aug ’09. Those that said Business Conditions were good rose to the most since Nov ’08 and those that said it was bad fell to the lowest since Nov ’08. After falling to just shy of the lowest since 1967, those that say they plan to buy a car within 6 mo’s rose 1.2 pts. Those that plan to buy a home within 6 mo’s (w/o the tax credit) fell .8 pts to 2.0, the 2nd lowest reading since 1982. One yr inflation expectations fell .1% to 5.3%.

The non seasonally adjusted gain in the S&P Case/Shiller home price index in Feb was .64% y/o/y, below expectations of 1.3%. 9 of the 20 cities surveyed saw a y/o/y gain. On a m/o/m basis, prices fell .85% with 19 of 20 cities down. Adjusting for seasonal adjustments saw a price decline of .1% m/o/m. While a focus of course, as is all the recent housing data seen of late that has been so well celebrated, the game changes after Friday. We will finally be able to see how much of an influence the home buying tax credit was and how many sales it pulled forward. The true supply/demand dynamic will finally be shown and under that scenario we can more accurately gauge the state of the market.

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