The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 7, 2012

Americans in mood to spend at start of holiday

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

In a sign of resilience in parts of Europe, German factory orders jumped 3.9 percent in October, the most since January 2011, on gains in overseas demand.

The Bloomberg comfort index's buying climate gauge improved to minus 33.4, the strongest since November 2007, from minus 35.4 the previous week. The personal finances index dropped to minus 6.6 from minus 4.4 the prior week.

The barometer measuring Americans' views on the state of the economy fell to minus 61.5 from minus 59.2 the prior period. Even so, the share of consumers giving the economy the worst rating of "poor," fell to 34 percent, the fewest in almost five years.

"Overall, consumer confidence is up but it remains fragile," David Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer of Kroger, the Cincinnati-based grocery chain, said on a Nov. 29 earnings call. "Uncertainty around issues like the fiscal cliff can have a short-term impact on consumer sentiment."

The comfort index last week was 16.5 points better than it was during this period last year. The gauge in 2012 has averaged minus 38.6 and is on track for its best annual showing in five years.

Further advances in confidence may bolster purchases. During the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, spending in stores and online rose 13 percent to $59.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Last year, sales climbed 16 percent during the holiday weekend.

Online holiday sales climbed 14 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 2 from the same period last year, according to comScore. The gain was propelled by Cyber Monday, which was the biggest online shopping day on record.

"Consumer confidence is soldiering on," said Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates in New York, which compiles the index for Bloomberg. Stagnant income advances and weak production are headwinds, while "other indicators — joblessness, the housing market and GDP among them — have improved along with consumer sentiment."

Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee