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Consumer comfort improves after hovering near this year's low

Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 22:31
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Consumer sentiment advanced last week, after hovering close to the lowest level of the year, on more favorable views of personal finances, the economy and buying climate, according to figures from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

[WASHINGTON] Consumer sentiment advanced last week, after hovering close to the lowest level of the year, on more favorable views of personal finances, the economy and buying climate, according to figures from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday.

Comfort index rose to a four-week high of 42.1 in period ended Oct 9 from 41.4. Buying-climate gauge at 38.9 versus 38.3. Measure of personal finances rose to 54.5 from 53.8.

Gauge of views on economy increased to 32.8 from 32.1.

The increase suggests consumer confidence is stabilizing after a September slide. Nonetheless, attitudes remain unsettled by uncertainty about the economy, limited wage growth and the race for the White House. 

Political predispositions are likely playing a role in attitudes about the economy. Consumers who align with Democrats are more upbeat about the economy than Republicans by a margin of 31 points, whereas the differences between the two groups are much narrower when it comes to attitudes about finances and the buying climate.

Comfort among Republicans fell to 39.3 from 41, while it rose for Democrats by 0.4 point to 49.2.

Sentiment among those with household incomes of more than US$100,000 increased to 69.8, matching its highest since April.

Confidence for those age 18 to 34 fell for a third week and is the second-weakest since September 2015. Comfort climbed in the Northeast to the highest level since April.

BLOOMBERG