Bob Willis and Timothy R. Homan
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) — U.S. consumer confidence collapsed this month and home values plunged in December, the latest evidence of a deepening economic slump that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke today warned may last into 2010.
The Conference Board’s confidence index dropped more than anticipated to 25, the lowest level since data began in 1967, the New York-based research group said today. Another report showed home prices dropped a record 18.5 percent from December 2007.
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Bernanke called for “strong” action by policy makers as the Obama administration tries to mend the breach in confidence with stimulus plans aimed at creating jobs and keeping Americans in their homes. Macy’s Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led retailers’ shares higher on profits that topped analysts estimates after cutting payrolls and inventories as sales slumped.
“We’re in for a pretty long haul and the recovery won’t be quick and particularly strong when it comes,” said Julia Coronado, a senior economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. “Chairman Bernanke has been saying this and President Obama has been saying this and consumers are getting the message. We just can’t seem to find the end to this housing downturn.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm