Consumer Sentiment on the Rise: Report

Confidence among U.S. consumers soared in April to its highest level since the sudden collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 08, according to Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index. The index rose to 61.9 from March’s final reading of 57.3, marking the highest reading since September’s index recorded 70.3, according to a report released today. According to Reuters coverage of its own index, economists forecast the sentiment index would rise, but only to 58.5, according to the median of 63 projections in the survey. In November, the index reached a three-decade low of 55.3. The survey’s index of current economic conditions, which reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation, jumped to 66.6 in April from 63.3 in March, posting the highest reading since December. The index of consumer expectations rose to 58.9 in April from 53.5 in March. “While consumers believe the economy may have hit bottom, most consumers believe that when the rebound starts the economy will gain ground very slowly,” says survey director Richard Curtin in a press release, as Consumers’ financial situations remain dismal. Additionally, the news service did not elaborate on the process by which the collapse of a Wall Street firm so greatly impacted street-side spending. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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