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MNI 5 THINGS: Japan Feb Consumer Confidence Down on Stocks

--Govt Downgrades View for 2nd Straight Month: Confidence Stalling
     TOKYO (MNI) - Key points from the latest monthly Consumer Confidence Survey
of households with two or more people conducted on Feb. 15 and released by the
Cabinet Office on Thursday.
     * Japan's consumer confidence index slipped 0.4 point to 44.3 in February
form 44.7 in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, posting the first
month-on-month drop in two months, as the global stock market sell-off seen
early in the month made people more cautious about the economic outlook. The
prices for fresh food and gasoline remained high, also dampening overall
consumer confidence.
     * The level of the index is still fairly high after hitting a four-year
high of 44.9 in November but the results of the survey prompted the government
to downgrade its view for the second straight month, saying, "Consumer
confidence is marking time." Last month, it said the pickup in confidence was
slower. It was the first time in two years that the government had revised down
its assessment of consumer confidence for the second month in a row.
     * Consumers were more pessimistic about three of the four key aspects that
affect their sentiment -- overall economic well-being, job prospects and whether
it would be a good time to buy durable goods over the next six months. The
sub-index on income gains rebounded in February.
     * The index on asset prices, which is not one of the sub-indexes used to
calculate overall consumer confidence, showed its first month-on-month fall in
two months, down 2.8 points in February after rising 1.6 points the previous
month.
     * The survey also showed that the public's inflation expectations for 12
months ahead marked the first drop in seven months. The share of those
projecting price rises decreased to 81.3% in February from 82.4% in January. The
share of respondents forecasting lower prices increased to 4.0% from 3.2%, the
first rise in two months.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email: hiroshi.inoue@marketnews.com
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email: max.sato@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MAJDS$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$,MT$$$$]

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