Economy

Consumer Sentiment Sets Another Record Low

Paul Ausick

Consumer research firm Morning Consult reported Monday morning that its consumer sentiment index slid from 105.09 on March 16 to 103.19 on March 17. Based on its daily surveys, this marks an overall year-to-date decline of 10.09 points. Since February 23, the index has dropped by more than 10.1 points. For the second consecutive day, the consumer sentiment index has fallen to its lowest level since the firm began tracking it more than two years ago.

John Leer, Morning Consult’s economist, notes the one-day drop of 1.81 points between Monday and Tuesday is the largest in the two-year history of the index. All five of the largest daily declines have come in the past five days.

The Dow Jones industrials dropped almost 3,000 points on Monday and were trading nearly flat Tuesday morning. The VIX volatility index rose to 84.83 earlier this morning, a 52-week high.

Morning Consult also recently published the latest results of a survey of U.S. adults related to their concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and how they feel about the U.S. economy and leadership.

The Census Bureau’s report on retail sales for February fell below consensus estimates on nearly every measure. Month over month, sales dropped by 0.5%, while economists were looking for a gain of 0.2%. To some degree, the lower month-over-month totals were due to increases in January results.

The Trump administration is preparing an $850 billion emergency stimulus package that reportedly combines payroll tax cuts and includes $50 billion in assistance for U.S. airlines. The package being discussed comes in addition to a $100 billion program that would provide paid sick leave for some workers.

China has reported 21 new cases of the infection as of Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 80,881. More than 3,200 Chinese have died from the coronavirus.

The United States posted 85 new cases Tuesday, bringing the country’s total to 4,748. There have been 93 U.S. deaths from the infection.