US consumer sentiment hit its worst levels since the worst of the 1991 recession, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Survey. The survey dropped to 70.8, from 78.4 in January. The mid-February reading was 69.6, so it has improved slightly. Economists were expecting a reading of 69.4.
The index has fallen 30% since its peak in January 2007. "Past declines of this magnitude have always been associated with a subsequent recession," said Richard Curtin, survey director.