Consumer Confidence for the month of September showed a slightly larger than expected downtick, falling from 120.4 down to 119.8 compared to expectations for a drop to 120.0. While overall confidence is down a little over five points from its recent high, it remains comfortably above its long-term historical average of 93.9. Breaking out this month’s report by Present Situation and Expectations, while the Present Situations index pulled back slightly from its cycle-high, the Expectations component actually saw a slight increase.
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Within this month’s report, one aspect that was interesting was the breakdown of consumers expecting higher or lower stock prices. As shown in the chart below, the percentage of consumers expecting equity prices to rise has fallen to 38.4% from a recent high of 47.1% in March. Conversely, the percentage of consumers looking for lower stock prices has risen from just 20.2% earlier this year up to 27.8% in September. While investors are certainly not as bearish as they were earlier in this bull market, there are still a lot of consumers who view the stock market with trepidation. From a contrarian perspective, that’s a healthy sign.