By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
The numbers: The level of confidence Americans expressed in the economy remained near an 18-year high in May, suggesting steady U.S. growth in the months ahead.
The consumer confidence index rose to 128 from a revised 125.6 in April, the Conference Board said Tuesday. Originally the April index was reported at 128.7.
What happened: The present situation index, a measure of current conditions, climbed to a 17-year high of 161.7 from 157.5 in the prior month.
The future expectations index edged up to 105.6 from 104.3.
Big picture: The high level of confidence reflects a sturdy economic expansion in the U.S. that’s about to turn nine years old with no end in sight. Job openings are at a record high and unemployment is at a 17-year low.
What they are saying?: “Consumer confidence has remained resilient in recent months despite uncertainty stoked by anti-trade rhetoric and stock market volatility,” economists at Barclays said.
“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions increased to a 17-year high, suggesting that the level of economic growth in [the second quarter] is likely to have improved from [the first quarter],” said Lynn Franco, director of economic Indicators at board.
The 10-year Treasury yield
fell 15 basis points to 2.78% in what appeared to be a flight to quality by investors nervous about Italy’s political situation. Just a week early the 10-year note was at 3%.