2013 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment
Released On 8/16/2013 9:55:00 AM For Aug(p), 2013
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level85.1 85.5 82.5  to 87.0 80.0 

Highlights
Three months of gains in consumer sentiment have suddenly been scaled back sharply with the index falling 5.1 points to 80.0 which is well below the Econoday consensus for 85.5. This is the lowest reading since April. It also fell below the low end of the forecasts at 82.5.

The decline is concentrated in the current conditions component which is down 7.6 points to 91.0, which is also the lowest reading since April. The reason for the decline is hard to pinpoint given the improvement underway in jobless claims and the strong uptrend in home prices. The price of gas, which has been coming down from last month, isn't to blame either. Perhaps the recent retreat in the stock market is a negative, at least for the high income group. Another negative perhaps is the prospect that the Federal Reserve will begin tapering down its stimulus.

The expectations component is also lower, down 3.6 points to 72.9 which again is the lowest reading since April. This decline hints at concern over future income in what would point to doubts over the jobs market. Doubts over the economy are apparent in a separate reading on the 12-month economic outlook which is down a sharp 12 points from July to 92. Are expectations of Fed tapering to blame?

With the price of gas down marginally, inflation expectations are unchanged, at 3.1 percent for the 1-year outlook and at 2.8 percent for the 5-year outlook.

The special concern in this report is the dip in current conditions, one that offers an early indication of monthly weakness for the general slate of August economic indicators. The Dow is showing little immediate reaction to the data.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index ended July at 85.1 which was the best reading since July 2007. And the implied reading for the last two weeks of the month was even higher, around the 86 area based on the difference between the final reading and the mid-month reading which was at 83.9.

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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