2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 9/28/2012 9:55:00 AM For Sep, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level79.2 79.0 75.0  to 81.5 78.3 

Highlights
Consumers saw the second half of this month as decidedly less positive than the first half, based on the consumer sentiment index which fell to 78.3 from 79.2 at mid-month. Still, the final September reading compares very well with 74.3 in August as well as July's 72.3. But throughout this two month run, at least until the last two weeks, the index had been climbing straight up to new recovery highs.

Softness the last two weeks is centered entirely in the assessment of current conditions which fell 2.6 points from mid-month to a final September reading of 85.7. This is three points below the final August reading which does not generally bode well for monthly economic data in September.

But expectations are a big positive, improving one tenth from mid-month to end at 73.5 which is up an extremely strong 8.4 points from August. Part of the rise in expectations is no doubt tied to the dip underway at the gas pump which is also reflected in inflation expectations. One-year expectations are at 3.3 percent, down two tenths from mid-month and down three tenths from August. Five-year expectations are at 2.8 percent, unchanged from mid-month and down two tenths from August.

This report, though upbeat compared to August, is less upbeat compared to mid-month and won't be raising expectations for the holiday sales season. The Dow is edging up from opening lows in initial and limited reaction.

Market Consensus before announcement
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index in early September was up a very sharp 4.9 points to 79.2. This is just about the best reading of the year. The gain was concentrated entirely in the expectations component which was up 8.3 points to 73.4 which was also just about the best reading of the year. A separate reading on the 12-month outlook also jumped, up 15 points to 88. The current conditions component showed little change, edging four tenths lower to an 88.3 level that is also, despite the dip, just about the best level of the year.

Definition
The University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center questions 500 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
 
[Chart]
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
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