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Consumer Confidence Index Up In September*

(* My advice is to check the date as to when the survey closed.)

In a surprising bit of good economic news in this vast sea of gloom and doom, the Conference Board just issued its Consumer Confidence Index showing a slight gain in September.

The index now stands at 59.8 (1985=100), up from 58.5 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 58.8, from 65 last month. The Expectations Index, however, increased to 60.5, from 54.1 in August.

But don’t start celebrating yet.

The cutoff date for preliminary results was Sept. 23. That was before the 777-point decline on Wall Street yesterday and all the political and financial theater of the past seven days.

I’d love to know what the index would have been if they had done it by 4 p.m. yesterday, or even today.

What I’m looking forward to is the Consumer Electronics Association’s Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns study. The 15-year-old study has a good track record in predicting CE holiday sales. This year’s report should be released at CEA’s Industry Forum in Las Vegas in mid-October.

And, in closing, during times like these you have to keep your sense of humor.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent you should enjoy these two lines from the great American humorist Will Rogers: