2012 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 12/21/2012 9:55:00 AM For Dec(f), 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level74.5 75.0 64.9  to 82.0 72.9 

The fiscal cliff is approaching and it's not helping consumer sentiment which is down nearly 10 points in December to 72.9 vs November's final reading of 82.7. A look at the two-week breakdowns points to an even lower 70s reading in the second half of this month, which is consistent with fiscal-cliff concern.

Weakness is centered in expectations which ends December at 63.8 which is down nearly 15 points from November. A separate reading on the 12-month economic outlook is down an eye-popping 23 points in the month to 74.

Current conditions are also down but less severely, at 87 for only a 3.7 point loss for the month. Inflation expectations are not an issue right now, at 3.2 percent for the one-year outlook and at 2.9 percent for the five-year outlook.

The Dow isn't reacting to this report, holding at opening lows following the latest breakdown from Washington.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell a very steep 8.2 points to 74.5 for the initial reading for December. This was the lowest reading since August. Weakness was centered squarely in the expectations component which plunged 13 points to 64.6. A separate reading on 12-month economic expectations was especially down, falling a whopping 22 points to 75.

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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