W.House's Hubbard says consumers "optimistic"

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W.House's Hubbard says consumers "optimistic"

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - While consumers remained optimistic, given the
sharp U.S. economic slowdown, further declines in a weak stock market could
impair consumer confidence, White House economic adviser Glenn Hubbard said
on Monday.

``Further declines in the stock market might impair consumer confidence,''
Hubbard said. Hubbard said a lot of consumer wealth is in real estate, which
has held up well in the current downturn. ``Consumers seem very optimistic,
given the current state of the economy,'' Hubbard said.

Hubbard said, despite the shrinking budget surpluses due to slowing revenue
from the economic slowdown and the $1.35 trillion tax cut, it was unlikely
spending would have to dip into the Social Security portion of the surplus.

``I don't think we view it likely that there's going to be an on-budget
deficit in (fiscal year) 2002,'' Hubbard said. The government's 2002 fiscal
year begins in October.

(--U.S. Financial Markets Desk, 646-223-6300)

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