July 16 (Bloomberg) — Confidence among U.S. consumers tumbled in July TO THE LOWEST LEVEL IN A YEAR heightening the risk of a slowdown in economic growth.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment decreased to 66.5, the lowest since August, 2009,Â and less than the most pessimistic forecast.
The sentiment figures showed a record-low share of Americans expected their incomes will rise in the next 12 months, underscoring growing pessimism over employment prospects.
Declining confidence may further restrain consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, and hinder the recovery in coming months.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS DEFAULT
Municipal borrowers defaulted at three times the typical rate even as the pace fell from records the past two years when Jefferson County, Alabama, and Lehman Brothers Holding Inc.’s failure sustained historic levels.
TRIPLE THE RATE OF FAILURE SINCE 1983
Thirty-five municipal bond issues totaling $1.5 billion defaulted in the first six months of 2010, the Miami Lakes, Florida-based Distressed Debt Securities Newsletter reported in its July edition. That annualized $3 billion pace is triple the rate of $1 billion or less a year going back to 1983.
U.S. stocks plunged, as a double dose of discouraging earnings reports and concerns about the pace of the economic recovery wiped out the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s gains for the week.
The Dow, which snapped its seven-day winning streak Thursday, closed down 261.41 points, or 2.5%.
With his approval numbers hitting new lows it’s no surprise that Barack Obama’s numbers in our monthly look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race are their worst ever this month. He trails Mitt Romney 46-43, Mike Huckabee 47-45, Newt Gingrich 46-45, and is even tied with Sarah Palin at 46.