Archive for the ‘optimism’ Category

Consumer Confidence at All Time Low

October 28, 2008

Layoffs, plunging home prices and tumbling investments have pushed consumer pessimism to record levels in October, a private research group said Tuesday. Wall Street shook it off, though, focusing instead on higher global markets amid optimism the Federal Reserve will ease interest rates further.

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer

The Conference Board said the consumer confidence index fell to 38, down from a revised 61.4 in September and significantly below analysts’ expectations of 52.

An employee working as a money changer prepares U.S. dollar ...

That’s the lowest level for the index since the Conference Board began tracking consumer sentiment in 1967, and the third-steepest drop. A year ago, the index stood at 95.2.

Wall Street, which has come to expect bad news on the economy, took the report in stride. The Dow gave up some of its early gains but was still up about 2 percent in midday trading, while the broader S&P 500 index rose 1.7 percent.

Investors are expecting the Federal Reserve to cut its target interest rate Wednesday by up to one-half a percentage point to 1 percent after its two-day meeting that began Tuesday.

In addition, European and Asian financial markets were up significantly Tuesday on expectations of the cut.

The news was not good for Main Street, though.

“Consumers are extremely pessimistic,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “This news does not bode well for retailers who are already bracing for what is shaping up to be a very challenging holiday season.”

Separately, a closely watched index of home prices fell by its steepest ever annual rate in August.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081028/ap_on_bi_
ge/financial_meltdown;_ylt=AvFHy3dQgaV.mq1iCIt6A.us0NUE

Irish mark Saint Patrick’s Day with parades, optimism on peace

March 17, 2008

DUBLIN (AFP) – Hundreds of thousands of revellers took to the streets of Ireland Monday for celebrations to mark the annual Saint Patrick’s Day national holiday.

Simon Rielly enjoys the festivities at the 184th consecutive ...
Simon Rielly enjoys the festivities at the 184th consecutive St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montreal, Canada on Sunday, March 16, 2008.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)

An estimated half a million people watched the country’s biggest event in the capital, Dublin, where a 3,000-strong parade snaked its way through the city centre.

The procession was bolstered by 16 marching bands from countries including Ireland, Japan, Italy and the United States and members of Ireland’s burgeoning immigrant population.

Other parades were held across the country while a cross-community, multi-cultural parade was held in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

President Mary McAleese, who reviewed the Dublin pageant, said the Belfast event was particularly poignant because it was the first since a power-sharing government was set up in Northern Ireland last May.

“This year, more than any in our recent past, is one to savour with special joy,” she said.

“The welcome return of devolved government to Northern Ireland has brought to the island of Ireland a promising era of peace, prosperity and partnership,” she added.

Saint Patrick was a fifth century Christian missionary who is the Catholic country’s patron saint.

Related:
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Can Be Too Costly

Why Americans love the Irish (St. Patrick’s Day is Today!)

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ylt=AgYO73jAc.JOor6ne91EH1Ws0NUE

It will be a happy new year in China, Vietnam: survey

December 13, 2007

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) – They know it’s going to be a happy new year in booming China and Vietnam, where consumers are confident about their job prospects, the economy and life in general, according to an Asia Pacific survey.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence tracks consumer confidence half-yearly for the six-month period ahead for 13 countries in the Asia Pacific region.It said Vietnam, with its fast-growing economy and rising personal incomes, and China, with its strong economy and growing ranks of newly rich, registered the highest levels of consumer confidence for the first half of 2008.

Hong Kong and Singapore were also bullish.

But political concerns appeared to weigh on consumer confidence in Taiwan, which listed the most pessimistic outlook.

“This latest consumer confidence reading of the region is broadly consistent with the short-term outlook of economic conditions of the key regional markets,” said MasterCard’s regional economic adviser, Yuwa Hedrick-Wong.

The survey’s rankings are based on responses on five variables: employment, economy, regular income, stock market and quality of life.