2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 4/13/2012 9:55:00 AM For Apr(p), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level76.2 76.2 74.0  to 78.6 75.7 

Headlines from last week's disappointing jobs report aren't helping the consumer's assessment of current conditions which, at 80.6, fell 5.4 points in an unusually steep decline last seen in July last year during the government's deficit cliff hanger. This component of the consumer sentiment index offers a very early look at conditions so far this month, and together with increases in the last two weekly jobless claims reports, the early look at the month is disappointing.

The weakness in current conditions pulled down the composite index by five tenths to 75.7, putting at risk eight straight months of gains. Readings will have to pick up at month end in order to keep the streak alive.

The report's expectations component is a positive, up 2.7 points to 72.5 for its best reading of the recovery. This suggests that consumers believe the current disappointment will be short lived.

The gain in expectations likely reflects to a significant degree the easing underway in gas prices. A big positive in the report is a slip in one-year inflation expectations, down a big five tenths to 3.4 percent. Five-year expectations are unchanged at 3.0 percent.

But the market, at least in initial reaction, isn't reacting to the silver linings in this report but to the disappointing assessment of current conditions. The Dow, down 1/2 percent, is moving to morning lows.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for the final March reading rose to its best level of the recovery, posting at 76.2 versus February final at 75.3. This report is broken into half month sections and the implied reading for the latter half is 77.1. The last time the index was in this area was early 2008.

The University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center questions 600 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment are two ways of talking about consumer attitudes. Among economic reports, consumer sentiment refers to the Michigan survey while consumer confidence refers to The Conference Board's survey. Preliminary estimates for a month are released at mid-month. Final estimates for a month are released near the end of the month.  Why Investors Care
Consumer sentiment is mainly affected by inflation and employment conditions. However, consumers are also impacted by current events such as bear & bull markets, geopolitical events such as war and terrorist attacks. Investors monitor consumer sentiment because it tends to have an impact on consumer spending over the long run (although not necessarily on a monthly basis.)

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/131/272/102/243/163/304/134/275/115/256/156/297/137/278/17
Release For: JanJanFebFebMa(p)rMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAug
Released On: 8/319/149/2810/1210/2611/911/2112/712/21
Release For: AugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec

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