By Staff | November 5, 2009 | Last updated on November 5, 2009
2 min read

U.S. consumer confidence plunged over the course of the last month as higher energy costs, rising unemployment and gyrating stock markets weighed on the collective consciousness, according to the latest reading of the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index.

The index fell 21.6 points from its early October reading, to 30.2 at the beginning of November. That wipes out any gains in confidence made since the early summer.

“American consumers are not yet convinced that their financial and employment situations are stable,” said Ira Jersey, head of U.S. interest rate strategy with RBC Capital Markets. “The sharp drops in the expectations and investment sub-indices highlight the challenges that personal consumption is likely to face over the next several quarters.”

In terms of current conditions, 33% of respondents described their personal financial situation as weak, compared with 27% in October. Expectations for the future were also on the decline, with only 30% saying they expected their local economy to be stronger in six months time, compared with 36% in October.

About 60% said they were not confident about investing for the future, compared with 54% in October. Two-thirds are not confident about their job security in November, compared with 58% in October.

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Manulife names new board member

Manulife Financial has named John R.V. Palmer to the board of directors, effective Nov. 4, 2009. Palmer is a seven-year veteran of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada.

He has also served as deputy managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and has advised other regulators, including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

“We are delighted to welcome John Palmer to the board,” said Manulife chair Gail Cook-Bennett. “His deep financial background and regulatory and global experience provide an excellent fit for our company.”

(11/05/09) staff


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