Rising gas prices made American consumers nervous enough to backpedal slightly in Discover Card's monthly consumer confidence survey during February. According to company officials, a loss of a single percentage point on the credit card issuer's Discover U.S. Spending Monitor index breaks the positive trend of the previous two months.
Nervous about tensions in the Middle East, 41 percent of consumers surveyed by Discover Card's researchers anticipated spending more on gas and transportation costs in the month ahead. Forty-five percent of respondents reported feeling worse about their overall financial situations. And 44 percent told pollsters they felt the overall economy was getting worse.
The credit card company's survey wasn't all bad news, however. Roughly half of the respondents told researchers they expected to spend more on home improvement, vacations, health club memberships and entertainment in the month ahead. The percentage of Americans with money left over at the end of each month grew to 48 percent, a 1-point gain from the previous survey. Overall, Discover Card's index remains at its highest level since 2007.