2014 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 5/16/2014 9:55:00 AM For May(p), 2014
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level84.1 84.5 82.5  to 88.0 81.8 

The news has been good but not consumer sentiment which has softened noticeably so far this month, to 81.8 vs 84.1 in final April and 82.6 vs mid-month April. The latest reading is below the low estimate in the Econoday forecast.

Weakness is split evenly between the composite's two components with expectations down 1.5 points from final April to 73.2 and with current conditions down to 95.1 which is 3.6 points below final April and which signals specific monthly weakness for the run of consumer data for May.

Gas prices are steady and are not affecting inflation expectations which remain stable to lower, at 3.2 percent for 1-year expectations which is unchanged from final April and at 2.8 percent for 5-year expectations which is down 1 tenth.

It's hard to explain the fall off in this report. Job indications are strong led by the big bounce higher in the April employment report and followed by two straight weeks of significant declines in jobless claims. The stock market is making new records and housing prices are strong, two factors that add to consumer wealth. Perhaps the drop will prove to be an outlier in an otherwise continued trend to new recovery highs. The Dow is moving to opening lows in limited initial reaction to today's report.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for April was very strong, with the composite index at 84.1 versus the flash April reading of 82.6 and the final March reading of 80.0. The latest reading is tied for the third best of the recovery, only 1.0 point off from the recovery high of 85.1 in July last year. Perhaps the biggest plus in the report was the current conditions component, at 98.7 for a new recovery best and a very strong 3.0 points above March. This comparison points to strong consumer activity for April and confirmed for many that the economy is off to a strong spring start from the heavy weather of the winter.
The expectations component was also higher, at 74.7 for a 4.7 point jump from March and the strongest reading since July last year.

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.)

2014 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/171/312/142/283/143/284/114/255/165/306/136/277/188/18/15
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Released On: 8/299/129/2610/1710/3111/1411/2612/1212/23
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