2011 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment 
Released On 7/29/2011 8:55:00 AM For Jul, 2011
  PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level63.8 64.0 61.5  to 65.0 63.7 

Highlights
Consumer sentiment edged even lower in the last half of the month, to a final July reading of 63.7 vs 63.8 at mid-month and 71.5 for final June. Comparison of the two latest readings against final June indicates that sentiment sank the most during the first part of the month. July's readings are the weakest since first-quarter 2009 when the economy was in recession.

Pessimism is centered where it's most unwanted and that's in expectations where the component is at 56.0, up slightly from 55.8 at mid-month but down substantially from 64.8 from June. The current conditions component shows less severe erosion with the final July reading at 75.8 vs 76.3 at mid-month and 82.0 in final June.

The deepening pessimism is at least not tied to inflation expectations which have moderated from June. One-year expectations are at 3.4 percent, unchanged from mid-month and down from June's 3.8 percent. Five-year expectations, at 2.9 percent, edged one tenth higher from mid-month but compared to June are one tenth lower.

Today's GDP report shows anemia on the consumer side in both the first and second quarters and this report points to more of the same for the third quarter. If the stock market rallies from morning lows, it won't be because of consumer sentiment.

Market Consensus before announcement
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index in mid-July fell to a more than two-year low of 63.8 compared to 71.5 for the final June reading. Expectations, the leading component, fell nine points to a 55.8 level that indicates wide pessimism over the economic outlook. Current conditions fell nearly six points to 76.3.

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.)
 

 

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