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The Lehman, I mean Barclays, “economist’ was on Bloomberg TV the other day talking about the “conference board’s” lows in consumer sentiment. This consensus is not only pervasive, but its inaccurate.

At 61.9 for January, this morning’s Michigan Consumer Confidence survey came in better, yet again, on a month to month basis (see chart). Consumer confidence in this country has been improving right alongside the timing of Obama’s Presidential victory and the “re-flation” of the US stock market from its November 20th low.

Stock markets are the most stealth leading economic indicators we follow. The US stock market is up +13% from its freak-out lows. China and Brazil continue to make higher lows on selloffs – there is leadership in this world, you just have to look beyond Citigroup’s boardroom to find it. In the face of this Crisis of Credibility, what Americans need most isn’t another bailout – been there done that. All they need is the confidence to entrust their life savings with the financial system. This morning’s report is one more step in a better than bad direction toward that goal.

Keith R. McCullough
CEO & Chief Investment Officer