2011 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 4/29/2011 8:55:00 AM For Apr(f), 2011
 PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level69.6 69.6 68.0  to 70.0 69.8 

Consumer pessimism is gradually easing from March's shock but is still much deeper than in February. The consumer sentiment index came in at 69.8 for April vs 69.6 at mid-month and 67.5 in March. Back in February, before the Libyan shut-in and the Japanese earthquake, consumer sentiment was at a recovery high of 77.5.

Inflation expectations may be easing back from the March shock but not much. One-year expectations are 4.6 percent, unchanged from March and vs 3.4 percent back in February. Five-year expectations did fall, back to February's level of 2.9 percent from March's 3.2 percent.

The outlook for the consumer will hinge on the jobs market where recent claims data are a concern. Markets aren't showing much reaction to today's report which confirms similar results in Tuesday's consumer confidence data.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index for the mid-April reading rose 2.1 points to 69.6 from the final number of 67.5 for March. However, this is still near six-month lows. The gain was centered in the expectations component which is the composite's leading component and which gained 3.3 points to a 61.2 level. The current conditions component, at 82.7 for a small 0.2 point gain, has been holding up better than expectations. Inflation expectations remain very elevated for the one-year outlook, unchanged at 4.6 percent, but they did fall back three tenths for the five-year outlook to 2.9 percent.

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.)


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