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Investing Specialists

Consumers Spending or Not Spending? That Is the Question

Drastically revised consumer income data suggest that the consumer was not quite as strapped for cash as we all feared in 2011.

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I will be the first to admit that some of the data this week was confusing, and on the surface, highly contradictory. Manufacturing data, both the durable goods orders and the national ISM Purchasing Managers' Reports, point to some economic softening. Meanwhile, same-store retail sales data, record auto sales, and pending home sales all suggest consumers are opening their wallets in a big way. Furthermore, drastically revised consumer income data suggest that the consumer was not quite as strapped for cash as we all feared in 2011. And initial unemployment claims set another recovery low.

Robert Johnson, CFA does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.