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MIAMI (CBS4) – In our consumer-based economy, when shoppers feel like spending, business gets a boost.

But when they worry about rising prices and stagnant salaries, business usually slows down.

On Friday, the best Wall Street rally in 16 years got derailed by one of the worst consumer confidence forecast since the end of 2011.

Brickell investor Herman Valerius is happy Wall Street’s been setting new records this week.

But he hasn’t seen many improvements in his bottom line.

“Honestly, I think there are few people who have seen any impact from Wall Street. I am still nervous about what’ happens in the next 6 months to a year,” The media producer said.

And it turns out, he’s not alone.

Despite better than expected first-quarter spending, consumers are still being hit with stagnant salaries, rising energy costs and a tight job market.

And mid-March consumer confidence nationally just fell more than expected, to its lowest levels in 2 years.

That’s one reason why investors ended the week with a pull back, cutting short Wall Street’s best rally in 16 years.

Some financial planners say now’s a good time for small investors to double check their long-term strategies.

“Normally when markets are doing well..I like to see people taking profits and conversely when markets are down, putting some money into stocks. But if you’ve been hunkered down and haven’t been in the stock market because you’ve just been fearful and earning next to nothing in yields from savings accounts, it’s a great time to rethink getting back into the long term strategy,” Coral Gables’ Lane Jones, from Evensky & Katz explained.

Locally, tourism around South Florida is out-pacing last years’ record levels.

New residential and commercial construction projects are starting to pop-up.

Local real estate values are growing and our 401k’s and other retirement accounts should also be showing solid gains since the end of last year.

Will the 2nd financial quarter see more gains or more consumer pull-backs as we approach the second half of the year?

Will hiring finally get back to pre-recession levels and will big business start adding new jobs to replace all the ones they’ve cut the past 5 years?

Lots of questions remain and that’s why so many consumers and investors are still worried about the pace of our economic recovery here and across the country


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