Capital Spending Drops, but Consumer Confidence Rises
Amid a flurry of good economic news came cause for potential alarm with today's report that a barometer of business investment plans slid for the fourth consecutive month in December. The 0.6% decline in non-defense capital goods orders has largely been tied to the collapse of oil prices and a strengthened dollar that has undercut corporate profits. Economists had predicted a 0.5% gain in orders and the four-month retreat is the longest since 2012.
Happier news lay in a separate report that consumer confidence had rebounded to its highest level since August 2007. And the sustained oil downturn should continue to boost those sentiments.