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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 9/14/2012 9:55:00 AM For Sep(p), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level74.3 73.5 73.0  to 75.0 79.2 

Highlights
The consumer's mood is brightening substantially so far this month according to the consumer sentiment index which is up a very sharp 4.9 points to 79.2. This is just about the best reading of the year. The gain is concentrated entirely in the expectations component which is up 8.3 points to 73.4 which is also just about the best reading of the year. A separate reading on the 12-month outlook is also jumping, up 15 points to 88. These gains may reflect in part, based on strong gains among Democrats in the weekly Gallup index, a boost from the Democratic convention.

The current conditions component shows little change, edging four tenths lower to an 88.3 level that is also, despite the dip, just about the best level of the year. Rising gas prices and the prospect of rising food prices don't seem to be a concern right now for the consumer with 1-year inflation expectations slipping one tenth to 3.5 percent and 5-year inflation expectations down 2 tenths to 2.8 percent.

The Dow is moving to opening highs following this report which also follows a strong gain this morning in headline retail sales. The jobs market may be soft but evidence is building that those with jobs are showing confidence and are willing to spend.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for the final August reading rose 7 tenths from mid-month to close August at 74.3. This was up a solid 2 full points from the final July reading. Importantly, the gain was spread evenly between the first half of the month and the second half which points to a steady slope of improvement going into September. The gain was concentrated entirely in the assessment of current conditions which improved to 88.7 from 87.6 at mid-month and 82.7 for July. Expectations, the other component of the headline index, rose 6 tenths in the second half of the month, to 65.1 versus 64.5, but was down slightly from July's 65.6.

Definition
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
 
[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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