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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 9/11/2009 9:55:00 AM For Sep(p), 2009
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level65.7 67.0 65.0  to 69.0 70.2 

Consumer sentiment picked up nicely in the first half of the month, extending last month's second half gain. Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose 4-1/2 points to 70.2 with gains split evenly between expectations, now at 69.2, and the assessment of current conditions, at 71.8. Inflation readings were mixed with the 1-year reading, reflecting lower pump prices, down 2 tenths to a very mild 2.6 percent but the 5-year up 1 tenth to 2.9 percent. Report after economic report are pointing to recovery, with this report pointing to recovery in the key consumer sector which so far, due to job losses, has been lagging. The month-end consumer confidence report from the Conference Board will break down in detail this month's consumer assessment of the labor market. Today's report made for immediate gains in stocks and a pop higher in gold to $1,010.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index for overall August improved from mid-August's 63.2 to 65.7, but still fell short of the 66.0 reading in July. The consumers' assessment of current conditions was weaker than July, 66.6 versus 70.5, though expectations were a bit less weak, at 65.0 versus 63.2. Looking ahead we are likely to see improvement for early September based on analysis of the August numbers. The Michigan survey at mid-month is based on about half of the total month's sample. If you assume that the sample is exactly 50 percent of the month's total, you can estimate the sentiment indexes for the second half of the month (the full month number is an average of first half and second half samples). The second half of August overall index is 68.2-up notably from mid-month's 63.2 and even July's 66.0. The second half of August represents modest improvement that could carry forward to early September.

The University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center questions 600 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
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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