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Gallup: Economic-Confidence Index Stays Near 9-Year High

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By    |   Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017 11:11 AM

Americans' confidence in the economy remained steady last week, holding at the highest level since mid-August and one of the highest levels in the past nine years.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +7 for the week ending Nov. 12.

Amid a booming stock market and a falling unemployment rate, the index has now registered its strongest two-week performance since the second and third weeks of August, when confidence stood at +8 and +11, respectively.

In particular, the October jobs report, which the Labor Department released on Nov. 3, showed the unemployment rate falling to a 17-year low.

Last week's score also ranks among the highest weekly readings since 2008, with only 14 other weeks registering a higher level of confidence.

All 14 have occurred since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Before that event, economic confidence was negative throughout 2009-2016, save for a nine-week period at the beginning of 2015. Since then, the measure has been positive for all but two weeks.

Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy remained strong last week, at least by the standards of the past nine years. This most recent rally may be a reaction to the recent tide of good economic news, including the positive October jobs report.

And while major stock market indexes, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, registered their first weekly losses in nine weeks last week, they remain well above where they were one year ago.

Gallup's index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.

On Wall Street, stocks fell on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones index shedding more than 100 points as a slide in oil prices and concerns about the fate of U.S. tax cuts weighed on the mood.

Oil prices slipped for the fourth day running after the International Energy Agency issued a gloomy outlook for demand. Metal prices also slid as data from China stoked fears of a slowdown in the world’s top commodities consumer.

Reports showed U.S. consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in October, lifting the year-on-year increase in the core CPI to 1.8 percent, while retail sales unexpectedly rose in October, firming the case for a December interest rate hike.

But a flattening yield curve, which is at its lowest level since November 2007, is concerning investors as they worry the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates too much, slowing longer term inflation and growth, Reuters explained.

“It’s a risk-off day. The market is looking for a reason to pause,” said Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management.

“There have been signs of weakness developing beneath the surface for a few days with the high yields and concerns about tax deal.”

Aside from Wednesday's rough start, the stock market remains on a tear, with the Dow Jones industrial average up about 5,000 points from where it was one year ago.

To be sure, Trump last week sent tweets pointing to the "great confidence" in his administration’s efforts, noting the record level the stock market hit on Monday.

He added that the administration is at work on cutting taxes.

(Newsmax wires services contributed to this report).

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Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy remained strong last week, at least by the standards of the past nine years.
gallup, economic, confidence, index
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2017-11-15
Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017 11:11 AM
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