The Consumer Confidence Index fell to a 5 year low, amid soaring inflation reflected in rising gasoline and food prices - and fears of a weakening jobs market. Reduced consumer confidence leads naturally to reduced consumer spending. Consumer spending accounts for over two thirds of the US economy. The negative release initially triggered selling in the stock market. The Standard and Poor/Case Schiller Home Price Index showed that housing Prices dropped in February at the fastest rate ever. Further adding to housing gloom, research firm RealtyTrac Inc. announced that foreclosures for Q1 2008 have more than doubled from Q1 2007. The employment market has been weakening - the labor department reported a loss of 80,000 jobs in March and is expected to show another loss of 65,000 in the April Employment Report this Friday. The recent strength in the US Dollar has contributed to the recent weakness in crude making it a less effective hedge against inflation. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut rates by 25 basis points tomorrow and to then cease the rate cuts for the rest of the year.