Global Shoppers Upbeat; Yanks, No So Much

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Throughout the world, consumer confidence is apparently as contagious as swine flu. Now if only the United States can catch a spot of the optimism itself.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 82 in June, an increase of 5 points from March, boosted by stock-market gains in emerging markets and key Asian countries.

"In the previous survey conducted in March, we were seeing the first signs that, as far as the world's consumers were concerned, the recession had bottomed out," said Jonathan Banks, business insights director at Nielsen. "Three months later, they're starting to embrace the idea of recovery -- which is a major turning point."

According to the survey, 71% of respondents believed their country was in a recession, down from 77% in March.

South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Brazil, Singapore, Turkey, Russia, Philippines and Britain all recorded improvements in confidence.

But in the United States, shoppers are still fearful. Last week the Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment showed consumer sentiment in July decreased to 66, from 70.8 in June.

Those numbers were reflected in morning trading, as the S&P Retail Index tumbled 2% to 345.07, with retail leading the way down. Notable decliners included Coach ( COH), which fell 4% to $28.01, Aeropostale ( ARO), which slipped 4% to $36.26, Nordstrom ( JWN), which declined 3.5% to $25.72, Macy's ( M), which dropped 3% to $13.16 and CVS Caremark ( CVS), which sank 2% to $33.68.

The U.S. is not, however, completely alone in its dourness. New Zealand and Germany also recorded declines ... of exactly one point. Not exactly The Panic of 1837.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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