2011 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment 
Released On 3/11/2011 9:55:00 AM For Mar(p), 2011
  PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level77.5 76.5 74.8  to 80.0 68.2 

Highlights
It's as if it finally dawned on consumers, during the first part of this month, that oil prices have been spiking and risk slowing the economy and raising inflation. The consumer sentiment report for mid-March is really very dramatic, showing a 68.2 composite index which compares with 77.5 for the full month of February but is down even further, perhaps a dozen points or more, compared to the recovery-best strength during the second half of February. The weakness is centered in the leading component, the expectations index which fell more than 13 points to 58.3. This points to increasing overall weakness in future readings.

Inflation expectations spiked, up 1.2 percentage points to 4.6 percent one-year out. Five-year expectations, which usually show little volatility, rose a sharp three tenths to 3.2 percent. This report is so far the first alarm that trouble may in fact be down the road. Stocks are slipping following the results.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index jumped sharply in February, rising to a much higher-than-expected 77.5, up 2.4 points from the mid-month reading and implying a very strong reading of nearly 80 for the last two weeks of the month. The latest reading is a three-year high. Strength the last two weeks has been centered in the leading component which is expectations. The assessment of current conditions showed little change from the mid-month reading. Higher gasoline prices may bump sentiment down a bit in the next reading.

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.)
 

 

2011 Released Schedule
Released On: 1/141/282/112/253/113/254/154/295/135/276/177/17/157/298/12
Release For: Jan(p)JanFeb(p)FebMar(p)MarApr(p)AprMay(p)MayJun(p)JunJul(p)JulAug(p)
 
Released On: 8/269/169/3010/1410/2811/1111/2312/912/22
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