U.S. Consumer Sentiment Surged in Early October

A measure of U.S. consumer sentiment rose swiftly in the first half of October to its highest level since 2004, a positive sign for household spending this fall.

The University of Michigan on Friday said its preliminary reading on consumer sentiment was 101.1 in October, up from 95.1 in September. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a preliminary reading of 95.3 for October.

“This ‘as good as it gets’ outlook is supported by a moderation in the expected pace of growth in both personal finances and the overall economy, accompanied by a growing sense that, even with this moderation, it would still mean the continuation of good economic times,” said Richard Curtin, the Michigan survey’s chief economist.

The index, which jumped following last year’s presidential election, was up 15.9% in October from a year earlier.

An index tracking current economic conditions climbed to 116.4 in October from 111.7 in September. An index tracking expectations about the future was up to 91.3 in October from September’s 84.4.

Other measures of consumer confidence remain high. Confidence among American consumers fell only slightly in September after two major hurricanes struck the U.S.

Stronger consumer sentiment has translated into increased spending in some pockets of the economy, though recent hurricane activity continues to cloud the underlying economic picture. Spending at U.S. retailers rebounded strongly last month, boosted by surging car sales and higher gasoline prices in the wake of several devastating hurricanes, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Source: Dow Jones