Consumer confidence improves, housing doesn’t

After a long weekend, the markets are witnessing a significant rally despite negative numbers on housing being released today.  That is due to the consumer confidence report that was dubbed to be highest since September of last year, the time the crisis began.

In a morning report, the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence for May jumped to 54.9 from 40.8 in April, which was originally reported as 39.2. The index is now at its highest since September 2008, the board said… Expectations for economic activity over the next six months jumped to 72.3 from 51.0 in the prior month.

As of this writing, the Dow is at session highs, climbing 175 points or 2.12% while the Nasdaq is the bigger winner with 3.11% gain or 53 points.

On to the housing front, the S&P/Case-Shiller housing index saw a record drop as housing prices tumbled 19.1% for the first quarter.  Now at 2002 levels, prices saw 15 of out 20 major metropolitan cities reporting more than 10% declines with Minneapolis, Detroit and NY posting the biggest monthly declines.

For some green shoots:

Two regions reported a slight price increase in March from a month earlier: Charlotte and Denver. A third, Dallas, was flat. Also, nine of the 20 areas reported better month-to-month results in March than February.

At least the markets/investors are not fixated on housing.  Improving consumer sentiments do play a better role on uplifting this depressed economy.

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