The U of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index of 62.6 is at its lowest level since March 1982 when it hit 62.0. The 30 year low for the index is 51.7 set in May 1980. The index peaked at 112 right before the internet bubble burst in January 2000.
Large troughs in the index typically coincide with recessions. Consumer spending is the primary driver of the US economy. As consumers become more worried about the economy, they spend less.
The news is weighing on the stock markets this morning, as the major indices have given up their gains for the day.
Leading the S&P 500 to the downside are Ford , Genworth Financial , MEMC Electronics , Microsoft and Altria .