The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In contrast to last week's market performance, the U.S. economic data released was generally solid. Shipping traffic, business lending, mortgage applications, industrial production, retail sales, initial jobless claims, corporate earnings reports, and the consumer price index all came in with solid growth readings. Notably, even the Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) posted a solid and better-than-expected 0.5 gain and marking the third straight month of re-acceleration in the year-over-year growth of the LEI. In contrast to this pronounced lack of any recession readings in the U.S. economic data, the readings on sentiment were uniformly weak as they priced in a recession. The stock and commodities markets fell, as did bond yields, and credit spreads widened. Consumer confidence readings slid to recession-like levels. The biggest disappointment last week came on Thursday, the day the stock market fell over 4%, when the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey was released. While treated like economic data, this is actually a sentiment index based on a survey of manufacturers in the Philadelphia region. The plunge in the Philly Fed survey further heightened fears of a recession and contributed to the sharp decline in stocks last week. However, we believe this is a case of weaker sentiment and not weaker manufacturing. Importantly, the economic data that actually measures the output of the manufacturing sector is the Industrial Production report which posted a strong and better-than-expected gain last week. The increase was led by a rebound in vehicle production which appears to have increased further in August. Rather than an economic recession, we seem to be experiencing a confidence recession. The market clearly believes that the return of business and consumer confidence to historical lows will inevitably lead to an economic recession -- no matter what the data says. Market participants are placing a high probability that businesses will not merely slow their rate of hiring and investment, but actually make cuts despite rising profits and strong sales. They also expect that consumers are in the process of shutting down their spending despite the fact that the past five weeks have seen the strongest year-over-year retail sales increase in a year and the credit card delinquency rate declined further in July to near a record low.