Oct. 25 - U.S. consumer confidence hits 2-1/2 year low; Housing expert says not sure if market has hit bottom; Netflix shares plunge after 2012 warning. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The mood of the mighty U.S. consumer darkened in October. According to the latest reading by the Conference Board, consumer confidence unexpectedly tumbled to its lowest point in 2-1/2 years; worries about jobs and income were to blame. But a sour mood doesn't always translate into weak spending. Recent reports suggest consumers are still willing to engage in some retail therapy. Home prices were unchanged in August, on a month-to-month, seasonally adjusted basis - as recorded by the closely followed S&P/Case Shiller survey. Yale University Professor Robert Shiller is co-founder of that report and is not yet sure if the housing market has hit bottom. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT SHILLER, YALE UNIVERSITY/CO-FOUNDER S&P CASE SHILLER REPORT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Everyone is trying to come up with a policy to boost it: The Fed, The president. The problem is we have been in a down market for going on five years and maybe one of these - none of these policies looks that impressive, you know, to fix it." Shares of Netflix are being ditched like a badly reviewed film. The stock has been down as much as 40 percent in early trade. The top video rental company beat third-quarter forecasts when it announced results late-Monday, but the company expects to see more customer exits after a series of unpopular announcements this summer. Analysts say the attempt by Netflix to pass on higher costs for acquiring movies to its customers is backfiring. Conway Gittens, Reuters