2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 7/27/2012 9:55:00 AM For Jul(f), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level72.0 72.0 71.0  to 75.0 72.3 

Consumer spirits are flat, reflected in the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index which finished July at 72.3 for a marginal 3 tenth gain from mid-month and a 9 tenths decline from June. The best news is in the assessment of current conditions where the index is at 82.7 which is down 5 tenths from mid-month but up 1.2 points from June. This reading hints at steady readings for July's data related to the consumer including jobs and spending.

The outlook, however, is deteriorating but only slightly with the expectations index at 65.6 which is up 8 tenths from mid-month but down 2.2 points from June. Lack of confidence is also reflected in the 12-month outlook where the index is at 74 vs 77 at mid-month and June's 79.

Gas prices are down but the outlook for food prices, given building concern over the Midwest drought, is pushing up 1-year inflation expectations which are at 3.0 percent vs 2.8 percent at mid-month. Yet this reading is still down 1 tenth from June. But longer term inflation expectations are steady, at 2.7 percent 5 years out which is down 1 tenth against both the mid-month and June comparisons.

The Dow is moving off opening highs following this report which points to a summer malaise for the consumer. Next data on the consumer's mood will be the consumer confidence report on Tuesday.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index in early July dipped 2 tenths to 72.0. Strength was in the current conditions component which was up 1.7 points over the last two weeks to 83.2. This was still lower than the 87 readings through May but was better than April and most importantly, again, was better than June which offered an early indication of month-to-month consumer strength for July. The weakness in the report was in the expectations component which was down 3 points to 64.8 and which unfortunately was the weakest reading of the year. This may reflect lowered expectations about job growth and concern about how problems in Europe may impact U.S. growth.

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
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