UMich Confidence – Wimpy’s Hamburgers

February 4, 2010 9:45 am

Consumers are definitely feeling a bit more confident in the latest U Mich survey. This is encouraging as the last report told a much different story.

Perhaps it was the idea that the holidays were just around the corner, or that there was more stimulus on the way. No matter, this is a nice surprise as it is provides some insight into current conditions about the future expectations.

What we are seeing is a bifurcation of the current conditions and the expectations. People are finding jobs and opportunities, more than they have in the past few months and they are either becoming content with the life they now lead or have capitulated into believing that this is the best that it will be for a while.

The stark contrast is in the expectations number that shows that most consumers are unsure about the future. Live for today at its best may be the motto since retails sales have been picking up of late.

It is like when President Obama said to us all in early 2009 (paraphrased): Start spending, don’t worry if you can pay for it now, the future will solve all of the problems. Don’t be concerned folks, spend now and pay later. (“I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”)

It does appear that consumers are getting the hint that today is next Tuesday. This is one of the key reasons that the personal savings rate is at the highest level it has been in years and consumer credit continues to be brought down at a breakneck pace. Good for us! All of us….

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Disclosure: Horowitz & Company clients may hold positions of securities mentioned as of the date published.

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