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Data: The Conference Board, University of Michigan; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer confidence continues to improve but remains well below the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic despite the rebound in housing and equity markets, surveys show.

Driving the news: The University of Michigan released its latest consumer sentiment index Friday showing an overall small improvement that was the result of increasing optimism about the future and pessimism about the present.

What they're saying: "The Current Conditions Index recorded its second small reversal, the first being in June, but even at its best, it has never come close to its December peak, being still down by 26.5%," the survey's analysts said in a release.

  • "The Expectations Index, despite the recent gain, is still down by 14.4% from its February peak."

The state of play: Hamilton Place and CivicScience's Economic Sentiment Index found a similar divergence in consumers' attitudes about the economy in its latest survey.

  • Respondents showed notable improvement in feelings about their personal finances, confidence in making a major purchase and confidence in the housing market.
  • However, confidence in the overall U.S. economy declined, and confidence in finding a new job dropped as well. It was the first time either metric has been lower than the previous survey since July.

Go deeper

How consumer spending slowdown affected U.S. businesses

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The consumer-spending pullback whacked businesses that were already struggling to recover from the initial hit from the pandemic, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

Why it matters: This month’s lockdowns (or people curbing their own activity for safety reasons) will be a bigger setback for these same shops in the weeks to come.

Nov 18, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Biden's rising COVID trust

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.1% margin of error for November poll, ±3.3% for October; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans‘ trust in Joe Biden to provide accurate information about the coronavirus has grown across the board since his election win, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Between the lines: It's the first time Biden won the trust of more than 50% of Americans since the poll started asking the question in August. But with the exception of Democrats, who are with him already, he still has room to grow.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.

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