2013 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 4/12/2013 9:55:00 AM For Apr(p), 2013
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level78.6 79.0 72.0  to 84.5 72.3 

Highlights
Volatility is sweeping the consumer sentiment report -- a big drop following a big surge following a big drop. Consumer sentiment is down very steeply so far this month, at 72.3 vs a scorching mid-80s pace in the last two weeks of March and vs a soft low 70s pace in the first two weeks of March. Final March came in near a recovery high at 78.6.

The current conditions component of this report offers early news on April and the news isn't good with the index down nearly 6 points to 84.8 which is the lowest reading since mid-January. This reading raises an early warning signal for the April retail sales report.

Expectations are also lower, down nearly 6-1/2 points from final March to 64.2 which however is above last month's mid-month reading of 61.7. A separate reading on the 12-month economic outlook is down 6 points to 79.

One positive in the report is a dip in one-year inflation expectations that reflects declines underway at the gas pump. One-year inflation expectations are down 2 tenths to 3.0 percent for the lowest reading since July. Five-year expectations are unchanged at 2.8 percent.

The stock market, stung by this morning's weak retail sales report for March, is not showing much reaction to this report, at least not initially. But the big dip for consumer sentiment, one that reverses last month's late surge, can not be a positive for the Dow.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index showed an unusually sharp second half swing which put a final reading for March at 78.6 versus a mid-month reading of 71.8. The final reading implied a mid-80s pace for the final two weeks of the month which is the very strongest pace of the whole recovery. As is, the 78.6 level was up 1 point from February for the fourth highest reading of the recovery, behind low 80 readings late last year and a 79-plus reading back in May. The current conditions component, at 90.7, was a recovery best. Less strong was the expectations component at 70.8 which was well down from nearly 80 readings late last year though it is up six tenths from February.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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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