Here are four charts reflecting confidence survey readings. The first three are from the SentimenTrader.com site.
I find these charts valuable as they provide a long-term history of each survey, which is somewhat rare.
Each survey chart is plotted in blue, below the S&P500:
(click on each chart to enlarge image)
Conference Board Consumer Confidence, last updated 3-27-12:
Thomson/Reuters University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, last updated 3-30-12:
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (formerly the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index) last updated 3-27-12:
NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, from Doug Short's blog post of March 30 updated through February:
As one can see, these charts continue to show subdued readings, especially when viewed from a long-term perspective.
These charts should be interesting to monitor going forward. Although I don’t believe that confidence surveys should be overemphasized, they do help to delineate how the economic environment is being perceived.
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation
SPX at 1408.47 as this post is written