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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 10/16/2009 9:55:00 AM For October, 2009
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level73.5 74.0 71.0  to 76.0 69.4 

Highlights
Consumer expectations are slipping though the assessment of current conditions is little changed, in what are mixed to disappointing results for the mid-month Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report. The headline index fell back more than 4 points to 69.4, reflecting a nearly 6 point drop in expectations to 67.6 and a nearly 1-1/2 point dip in current conditions to 72.1. Rebounds underway in the housing and manufacturing sectors, as well as strength in the stock market, are likely holding up current conditions with continuing job losses likely hurting confidence in the outlook.

Inflation expectations popped up 6 tenths to 2.8 percent for one year out and are up 1 tenth to 2.9 percent for five years out. These results are odd given steady prices this month for both gasoline and food and may reflect sampling issues as sample size for this report is much smaller than the Conference Board's consumer confidence report.

Markets are reacting to this report with oil slipping, the dollar rising, and the dip in the stock market accelerating. But despite today's soft readings, consumer spirits remain well above levels in July and August.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index rose more than 3 points from mid-month to 73.5. The advance from the final August reading was nearly 8 points. Gains were split roughly evenly between the assessment of current conditions and the assessment of the outlook.

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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