Consumer confidence dips slightly

Consumer confidence dipped in February after a gain in January, according to the benchmark monthly Conference Board survey.
 
The index fell to 78.1 percent from 79.4 percent in January. Consumers' opinion about the current economic climate actually climbed, but this increase was outweighed by a decline to 75.7 from 80.8 in their expectations about the future.
 
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A rating above 100 on the index would represent a bullish economy. The Conference Board noted that 81.7 reading for current conditions is the highest since April 2008, when the Great Recession was just starting to take hold.
 
“Consumer confidence declined moderately in February, on concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs, and earnings,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. 
 
She added, the survey “suggests that consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead.”
 
The cutoff for the survey was Feb. 13, just after Congress approved a debt-ceiling agreement removing uncertainty over the budget and bond payments from the economy, at least until March 2015. 
 
During the time period, the Federal Reserve continued to withdraw its financial stimulus from the economy, causing some turbulence in equity markets and raising some fears of increases in mortgage rates.