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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 11/21/2012 9:55:00 AM For Nov(f), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level84.9 84.0 81.0  to 87.5 82.7 

Consumer sentiment has been pessimistic the past two weeks or so, showing a final November reading of 82.7 vs an initial reading of 84.9. A comparison of the bi-monthly periods points to an 80.0 level or so since the initial report. Consumer sentiment first broke over 80 in October. Comparing the monthly periods shows little change with November ending one tenth higher than October.

Weakness in today's report is concentrated in expectations, at 77.6 vs an initial 80.8. Weakness in expectations hints at weakness in income expectations which is not a good signal for the holiday season. The second component of the headline index, the current conditions index, fell to 90.7 vs 91.3.

Inflation expectations are no worry, at 3.1 percent for the one-year outlook, and at 2.8 percent for the five-year outlook. These rates have slowed and stabilized as gas prices have fallen the last two months.

The momentum signaled in this report is not a positive going into the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping surge. The Dow is off opening highs following today's report.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index in early November was up 2.3 points to another recovery best of 84.9, compared to end of October 82.6. Confidence in current conditions was especially strong, at 91.3 versus October's final reading of 88.1. But expectations were also on the rise, up nearly 2 points to 80.8. Both of these readings, like the composite index, were at recovery bests.

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.)

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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