2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 12/7/2012 9:55:00 AM For Dec(p), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level82.7 83.0 80.0  to 85.5 74.5 

The nearing approach of the fiscal cliff isn't boosting consumer sentiment, to say the least. Consumer sentiment is suddenly moving into reverse, falling a very steep 8.2 points to 74.5. This is more than five points below the low end estimate! The weakness is centered squarely in the expectations component which plunged 13 points to 64.6. A double-digit decline is very rare and points to a sudden pessimism in the consumer, right on the approach of the final holiday shopping surge. A separate reading on 12-month economic expectations is especially down, falling 22 points to 75.

But there is good news in the report. The assessment of current conditions is holding firm, down only eight tenths to 89.9 and holding near the recovery's high point. This reading is one of the first on conditions in early December and it points to an extension of steady growth for the general economic picture, at least for this month.

Inflation expectations are moving higher despite still declining gasoline prices. One-year expectations rose a sharp two tenths to 3.3 percent with five-year expectations up one tenth to 2.9 percent.

Today's report offers negotiators in Washington a measure of public skepticism that the White House and House will successfully avert the onset of higher taxes and cuts in spending that would risk derailing the economic recovery. But the news isn't hurting the Dow, which is holding near opening highs following today's better-than-expected employment report.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index turned pessimistic in latter November as the final November reading came in at 82.7 versus an initial reading of 84.9. A comparison of the bi-monthly periods suggests an 80.0 level or so since the initial report. Consumer sentiment first broke over 80 in October. Comparing the monthly periods showed little change with November ending one tenth higher than October. Weakness was concentrated in expectations, at 77.6 versus an initial 80.8. The current conditions index fell to 90.7 compared to 91.3.

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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