2013 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 3/15/2013 9:55:00 AM For Mar(p), 2013
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level77.6 77.5 73.0  to 80.0 71.8 

Not all the economic news is good. Consumer sentiment is taking a surprise plunge so far this month, to 71.8 vs a roughly 79 pace during the last two weeks of February. Weakness is in the expectations component which fell 8.5 points to 61.7 which is the lowest reading since the fiscal impasse and US ratings cut in the third quarter of 2011. And the ongoing impasse, including sequestration, is a likely cause for the sudden lack of confidence in the outlook. The current conditions component also slowed but only slightly, down 1.5 points to 87.5.

Rising gas prices could also be a factor in the lack of confidence in the outlook, but if so it isn't apparent from inflation expectations. The one-year outlook is unchanged at 3.0 percent with the five-year outlook down, not up, one tenth to 2.9 percent.

A separate reading on the 12-month economic outlook underscores the lack of confidence in the economy's direction, falling 17 points to 70. Economic data have been humming lately including this week's very strong retail sales report for February. But today's report, which offers an early look at March, suggests that all the troubles facing the consumer, including this year's increase in payroll taxes, may finally be taking their toll.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for final February rose smartly to 77.6 from a mid-month reading of 76.3. The implied pace for the last half of the month was about 79 which is well above January's 73.8 when the payroll tax shock first struck. Both expectations, at 70.2 versus a mid-month 68.7, and current conditions, at 89.0 versus 88.0, showed gains.

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.)

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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