The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment has been released and investors and the public will care about this number because it is one of the first nearly live reports for the month of July. Today’s preliminary sentiment report came out at 83.9, according to news sources. Bloomberg had expectations of 84.1, versus that prior report at 84.1, and Dow Jones had estimates of 83.6 for July.
We think that the bias should have been higher considering that there has been excitement with stocks hitting new all-time highs again after a very volatile first part of June. Bloomberg’s range from economists was 77.5 to 86.0, so there was a very large discrepancy on expectations.
Be advised that this number is the preliminary report for July and will be refreshed in two weeks or so. This survey is also far less representative of a national report as well, because it is only based on a tally of 500 households. The Consumer Confidence reading from the Conference Board is more representative of a national sentiment, but it is unfortunately issued later than this preliminary figure.
Another issue that is controversial about this report is that it is staggered in the release, first to subscribers, then it is sent to the media by subscribers and then the public gets the information. If one economic number can be challenged over the release mechanism and the methodology, our take is that the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment reading is the one.