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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 3/27/2009 9:55:00 AM For March, 2009
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level56.6 56.7 55.0  to 60.0 57.3 

Highlights
Consumer sentiment is steady though at historically low levels. The Reuters/University of Michigan index edged slightly higher in March to 57.3 to show little change from mid-month or from February. Looking on the bright side, job losses are not further hurting sentiment and more and more retailers are reporting recovery centered in basic consummables. Twelve-month inflation expectations are at 2.0 percent, up slightly from prior readings and again another possible positive suggesting that consumers, unlike policy makers, are not worried about deflation and do see a return to normal economic conditions. There was no reaction in the financial markets.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index edged 3 tenths higher in mid-March to a still severely low level of 56.6. But expectations, the report's leading component, did rise 2-1/2 points to 53.0 -- indicating that pessimism isn't getting worse and perhaps hinting that it may now be slowly receding. On the downside, though, the current conditions component fell more than 3 points to 62.3, a reflection of ongoing and very severe contraction in the labor market. Looking ahead, the current conditions component is likely to remain low due to lagging weakness in labor markets. However, improvement in the expectations component likely is going to depend on how well the cheer leading is going from the Fed, the Treasury, and President Obama.

Definition
The University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center questions 500 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment are two ways of talking about consumer attitudes. Among economic reports, consumer sentiment refers to the Michigan survey while consumer confidence refers to The Conference Board's survey. Preliminary estimates for a month are released at mid-month. Final estimates for a month are released near the end of the month.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Consumer sentiment is mainly affected by inflation and employment conditions. However, consumers are also impacted by current events such as bear & bull markets, geopolitical events such as war and terrorist attacks. Investors monitor consumer sentiment because it tends to have an impact on consumer spending over the long run (although not necessarily on a monthly basis.)
 

 

2009 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/161/302/132/273/133/274/175/15/155/296/126/267/107/248/14
Release For: JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAug
 
Released On: 8/289/119/2510/1610/3011/1311/2512/1112/23
Release For: AugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec
 


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