Consumer Sentiment Rises to Nine-Month High

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The preliminary April read on the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose to a nine-month high of 82.6. A survey of economists by Bloomberg had a consensus estimate for a reading of 81, up from a final reading of 80 in March.

The survey’s measure of current economic conditions rose from 95.7 to 97.1, well above the forecast of 96.3. The subindex measuring consumer expectations also rose, from 70.0 to 73.3, again well above a consensus estimate of 71.4. Expectations for one-year inflation dropped slightly from 3.2% to 3.1%, while five- to 10-year inflation expectations rose from 2.9% to 3.0%.

Relatively upbeat economic news has boosted consumer confidence in the U.S. economy. Job growth has grown a little stronger and wages are rising ever so slightly. Thursday’s report on new claims for unemployment benefits came in at 300,000, a level not seen since May of 2007 when there were 297,000 new claims.

Mortgage loan rates, though higher than a year ago, remain historically low at around 4.35%. And most of the rate increase came last June with loan rates more or less flat since then.

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