2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 10/12/2012 9:55:00 AM For Oct(p), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level78.3 78.3 75.0  to 81.0 83.1 

A big surge in consumer sentiment is a big surprise. The mid-month reading of 83.1 is up nearly five points from September which is a very big move for this report. Chatter this morning in the markets was looking for a dip back while the Econoday consensus was looking for no change. The gain is centered in the expectations component but also includes a sizable 2.9 point gain for the current conditions component, which at 88.6 is retesting its best level of the recovery which is August's 88.7. But the comparison to watch is with September and the nearly three point gain is an early signal of strength for October's set of monthly data.

Expectations jumped 6.0 points to 79.5 which is by far the best reading of the recovery. This jump hints at confidence in future income prospects which belies the bulk of data coming out of the jobs market though it does underscore yesterday's drop in jobless claims and last week's drop in the unemployment rate. A separate reading on the 12-month economic outlook is up a big 10 points to 97.

Gasoline and food prices don't seem to be disturbing the consumer with inflation expectations down sizably, to 3.1 percent vs 3.3 percent in September for the one-year outlook and to 2.6 percent vs September's 2.8 percent for the five-year outlook. This is a very positive report that will be raising talk in the market of economic improvement underway. The Dow is jumping to opening highs in immediate reaction.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for the final reading for September fell to 78.3 from 79.2 at mid-month. Still, the final September reading compared very well with 74.3 in August as well as July's 72.3. Softness of the last two weeks was 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 was three points below the final August reading which does not generally bode well for monthly economic data in September. But expectations were a big positive, improving one tenth from mid-month to end at 73.5 which was up an extremely strong 8.4 points from August.

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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