The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -46.9 in the week ended May 8, as rising gas prices are making Americans worried about their personal finances. This was the index’s worst reading since March, Bloomberg said. The comfort index’s range is from -100 to +100.

“Consumers will likely need to observe a steady descent in the cost of fuel before sentiment will see a sustainable increase,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg. Once they see higher energy bills “beleaguered consumers” will be reminded on a daily basis of the difficulties endured throughout the financial fallout, Brusuelas said.

Applications for jobless benefits in the week ended May 7 did not decrease as much as economists had forecasted, Bloomberg said. There were 434,000 applications for jobless benefits filed in the week ended May 7; economists had predicted 430,000 applications.

As for the May 1 news that the U.S. had killed Osama bin Laden, this did not buoy investors’ outlook, Bloomberg noted. “Evidently, the damage to household bottom lines by rising food and fuel costs, tepid wage gains and an elevated level of unemployment has trumped the demise of America’s long-time nemesis,” Brusuelas said.

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