Nightly News | August 13, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: We're back now with a focus on the economy. After a roller coaster week on Wall Street and continued grim news about jobs and consumer confidence , any good news about the economy can be awfully hard to find. But tonight, our own Mara Schiavocampo may have found just that in an unlikely place.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO reporting: For Wall Street this week, unprecedented volatility.
MARIA BARTIROMO reporting: It's another ugly day for stock prices on Wall Street today.
Unidentified Reporter: But the losses are severe across the board here.
BARTIROMO: This market is holding on to a powerful rally. Up 516 points.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: ...following an unprecedented credit rating downgrade.
Unidentified Woman #1: They don't have a grip on what's going on.
Unidentified Woman #2: Right now, I'm pretty scared.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: But amidst all the uncertainty, a glimmer of hope. This week news that the pain at the pump is finally easing.
Unidentified Woman #3: It's nice to see that gas prices have come down.
Unidentified Man #1: Good news. Very good news.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: In the past week, gas prices have dropped about 10 cents to 3.60 a gallon, down from a three-year high of almost 4 bucks in May, thanks to lower oil prices and demand. Analysts say prices will likely keep sliding and could drop as much as 50 cents a gallon in the next few weeks.
Mr. RON INSANA (CNBC Senior Analyst): It's like a mini tax cut right now. The gasoline prices are likely to stay down as we end the summer driving season and move into the autumn.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: But nervous consumers may not be so eager to spend what they're saving. A recent report found the debt ceiling debacle and this week's market roller coaster maybe worrying consumers after all, with confidence hitting a 31-year low this month. So the question remains, will shoppers keep spending money, giving the economy the boost that it needs? With back-to-school shopping in full swing and the holiday season right around the corner, the next few months are crucial for retailers. But shoppers have mixed feelings.
Unidentified Man #2: You have to be a little more cautious what you put your money into.
Unidentified Woman #4: I'm still going to spend money.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Consumer confidence varying widely, much like the markets. Mara Schiavocampo, NBC News, New York.