Consumer sentiment has been steady the last two weeks, holding on to the bulk of gains posted in the first two weeks of the month. The final October reading, at 82.6, is down 5 tenths from mid-month and is well above September's 78.3. Both the current conditions and the expectations components slipped 5 tenths from mid-month, to 88.1 and 79.0. The 88.1 reading for current conditions is up a noticeable 2.4 points from September to hint at general growth for October's slate of economic data. The expectations index is up a sizable 5.5 points from September which hints at confidence in income prospects and is a positive for the holiday shopping outlook. A separate reading on the 12-month economic outlook is at 96, down 1 from mid-month but up 9 points from September.
Prices at the gas pump have been coming down this month while food prices are stable, reflected in inflation expectations which are at 3.1 percent for the 1-year outlook, down 2 tenths from September, and at 2.7 percent for the 5-year outlook for a 1 tenth dip. These readings show little change from mid-month.
A weak jobs market aside, the consumer is doing pretty well, judging by confidence measures such as today's report and by economic data such as this morning's GDP report. But today's sentiment report, due to softness relative to mid-month, isn't helping the Dow which is moving slightly lower. Watch on Tuesday for the consumer confidence from the Conference Board.