retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports the Conference Board says that US consumer confidence "held steady in July" and that "its consumer index was 97.3 this month after a reading of 97.4 in June. Economists had expected the index to drop to 95.9 in July."

In addition to other factors, such as new single-family home sales, these numbers suggest that there is "sustained momentum in the economy that could allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year.

"The reports joined a slew of data, ranging from retail sales to manufacturing and services sector surveys, in painting a bright picture of the economy, and came as the Fed started a two-day policy meeting," the story says, adding that "according to a Reuters survey of economists, the government is expected to report on Friday that the economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter, accelerating from the 1.1 percent pace logged in the January-March period."
KC's View:
Regardless of what the numbers say, I'm amazed that consumer confidence is anywhere near these levels. After all, right now it is in the best interests of one side of the political equation to try to convince the electorate that we're going to hell in a hand basket.

This is not political commentary, by the way. The Democrats hold the White House, so the GOP has to say that they've driven the economic bus into a ditch. If Republicans held the White House, it'd be the other way around.

Here's what I'm fairly sure of. Forty-five percent of the electorate that votes will vote one way, and 45 percent will vote the other way. What will matter is how the other 10 percent votes.

I did enjoy it recently when a retailer I know said to me on the phone, “Three hundred and fifty million people in this country, and this is the best we can do?”

Apparently so.