An interesting array of tea leaves to read and report on this week. The first “leaf batch” comes from the folks at Nielsen. Yes, “Nielsen” of TV rating fame, but they report on all kinds of consumer trends and “ratings.” Recently they issued a report stating that consumer confidence ‘round the world had climbed to pre-recession levels in the year’s first quarter. That confidence had “ended on a flat note in 2013,” their article said, “but signs of a brighter sentiment were right around the corner. With an index score of 96 in the first quarter—the highest level since first-quarter 2007, that optimism was validated.