2013 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 1/18/2013 9:55:00 AM For Jan(p), 2013
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level72.9 75.0 72.5  to 84.0 71.3 

Consumer sentiment is flat at soft levels. January's mid-month reading of 71.3 is down 1.6 points from the full month reading for December and compares with a low 70s trend during the latter part of December. Expectations continue to slip, down 1.1 points to 62.7 which is the lowest reading for this component since the aftermath of the debt-ceiling battle in 2011. Current conditions, which had been holding up better than expectations, are showing noticeable weakness, falling 3.7 points in December and another 2.2 points so far this month to 84.8. Today's decline in current conditions is not a positive signal for January's slate of economic data.

Oil prices are climbing and the consumer isn't ignoring it. One-year inflation expectations are up two tenths to 3.4 percent. The effect has yet to hit the five-year outlook which is unchanged at 2.9 percent.

The approach of the fiscal cliff depressed both consumer and business sentiment late last year, but the passing of the threat, based on today's report, may not lead to much of a rebound, especially given the approach of a second debt-ceiling battle. The Dow is little changed following today's report. Next reading on the consumer will be next Thursday with the Bloomberg consumer comfort index.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index was down nearly 10 points in December to 72.9 versus November's final reading of 82.7. A look at the two-week breakdowns pointed to an even lower 70s reading in the second half of December, which was consistent with fiscal-cliff concerns. Weakness was centered in the expectations index which ended December at 63.8 for a nearly 15 point decline from November. Current conditions were also down but less severely, at 87 for only a 3.7 point loss for the month.

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
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.)

2013 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/182/12/153/13/153/294/124/265/175/316/146/287/127/268/16
Release For: JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAug
Released On: 8/309/139/2710/1110/2511/811/2712/612/23
Release For: AugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec

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