Although there has been some optimism expressed about the U.S. economy by a few Fed figures, the latest consumer-sentiment index number suggests the recovery is hitting rocky terrain. From 72.0 a month ago, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index number for March dropped sharply from February's revised 72.0 to 63.4. Economists were expecting a lower number than the one reported, and the drop was accentuated by an upward revision of February's number from 70.4, but the fall was still substantial. Impacting consumer confidence were worries about the price of food and gasoline - inflation worries, in other words. An economist was quoted as saying that the drop was big enough to have an impact on consumer spending decisions.
Yes, the recovery doesn't look that strong now. Perhaps those optimistic words came from using the stock market as a proxy for U.S. economic health, as recent economic data don't exactly back up the rosy scenario. Gold, after falling back to $1,415 by 9:45, turned around and began climbing. The data hit the Internet in the middle of its climb, at 10:00, and helped ease the metal up to $1,420 before it tailed off a bit.