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Financial News: U.S. Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Improves In February

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Improves In February

02/14/2020 - 10:13:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Reflecting an improvement in expectations, the University of Michigan released a report on Friday showing an unexpected increase in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of February.

Preliminary data showed the consumer sentiment index rose to 100.9 percent in February from the final January reading of 99.8. The uptick surprised economists, who had expected the index to edge down to 99.5.

The unexpected increase by the headline index came as the index of consumer expectations climbed to 92.6 in February from 90.5 in January.

On the other hand, the report said the current economic conditions expected slipped to 113.8 in February from 114.4 in January.

"Net gains in household income and wealth were reported more frequently in early February than at any prior time since 1960," said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

However, Curtin added, "These gains in consumers' economic assessments have also been accompanied by a faint stirring of two powerful sources of uncertainty."

Curtin said just 7 percent of respondents mentioned the coronavirus when asked to explain their economic expectations, while only 10 percent mentioned some aspect of the upcoming presidential election.

On the inflation front, the report said one-year inflation expectations were unchanged at 2.5 percent, while five-year inflation expectations fell to 2.3 percent from 2.5 percent.

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