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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 1/27/2012 9:55:00 AM For Jan, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level74.0 74.0 71.5  to 77.5 75.0 

Highlights
Consumer sentiment has improved the second half of the month but at a slower pace than the first. The index rose 1 point in the final January reading to 75.0. The mid-month reading of 74.0 was up more than 4 points from the final December reading which is a very strong gain. The implied reading for the last two weeks is a very solid 76.0. Levels are now above the year-ago comparison for the first time in a year.

Gains are being led by the leading component of expectations which is at 69.1 for a 5.5 point gain from December. Current conditions, at 84.2, are up 4.6 points from December.

Gas prices are on the rise and are showing up in inflation expectations which, at 3.3 percent for the 1-year outlook, are up 1 tenth from mid-month and up 2 tenths from December. The 5-year outlook is unchanged from final December at 2.7 percent.

January as a whole has been a very positive month for consumer spirits, improvement consistent with what will hopefully prove to be tangible gains for the monthly employment report. Next look at the consumer's mood will be on Tuesday with the consumer confidence report.

Market Consensus before announcement
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 74.0 at mid-month from 69.9 in December. The index has been moving straight up since the August low of 55.7. Composite components both showed solid gains with current conditions up 3 points to 82.6 and expectations up nearly 5 points to 68.4.

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.)
 

 

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/131/272/102/243/163/304/134/275/115/256/156/297/137/278/17
Release For: JanJanFebFebMa(p)rMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAug
 
Released On: 8/319/149/2810/1210/2611/911/2112/712/21
Release For: AugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec
 


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