Finally, the beleaguered economy got a little bit of good news on Thursday - two pieces of good news, actually, from widely disparate areas. First of all, the U.S. trade deficit closed in April, far more than expected. We imported less oil and fewer automobiles than in previous months, but more than that, American' exports reached an all-time record high. Bloomberg's survey of economists had predicted that the trade gap would reach an 10-month high, but instead, it dropped to its lowest level since December.
Meanwhile, consumers reported increasing confidence, probably because gas prices have begun to recede. Even though unemployment rose again in May, and consumers report that they feel the overall state of the economy has worsened, a national 26-cent drop in the cost of a gallon of gas was enough to move the "personal finances" gauge up significantly. In the end, the Consumer Comfort Index rose for the third straight week.