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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 7/13/2012 9:55:00 AM For Jul(p), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level73.2 73.5 70.0  to 76.5 72.0 

Highlights
Improvement is evident in a consumer sentiment report where the headline, at 72.0 for a 1.2 point decline, looks weak. The strength is in the current conditions component which is up 1.7 points over the last two weeks to 83.2. This is still lower than the 87 readings through May but is better than April and most importantly, again, is better than June which offers an early indication of month-to-month consumer strength for July.

The weakness in the report is in the expectations component which is down 3 points to 64.8 and which unfortunately is the weakest reading of the year. Perhaps this reflects, given headlines out of Europe, concerns over the global outlook, concerns however that, based on strength in current conditions, have yet to hit the US consumer.

One factor that's definitely helping the US consumer is the moderation underway in gas prices. One-year inflation expectations are down a big 3 tenths to 2.8 percent. Five-year expectations are unchanged at the same 2.8 percent. Today's report, as far as immediate data on July is concerned, is a positive but one masked by the headline. Stocks moved lower than higher in initial but limited reaction to today's report.

Market Consensus before announcement
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index slipped to 73.2 for the final June reading which, given a 74.1 reading at mid-month, points to a low 72 reading for the final two weeks. The index opened the year at 75.0. Weakness was seen in both expectations, down 1.1 points to 67.8, and in currents conditions which is 6 tenths lower to 81.5.

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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