2008 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 7/25/2008 10:00:00 AM For Jul(f), 2008
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level56.6 56.4 56.0  to 57.5 61.2 

Highlights
Consumer spirits are recovering from their record lows for both the economic and inflation outlooks. Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index jumped to 61.2, nearly 5 points higher from both the June and mid-month July readings indicating that strength has appeared over the last two weeks. This is a positive signal for the month's employment readings. Both near term and long term inflation expectations eased back, no doubt reflecting the retreat in oil prices and of course at the gas pump. One-year inflation expectations dipped 2 tenths from mid-month to 5.1 percent with 5-year expectations also down 2 tenths to 3.2 percent.

Sub-components for the sentiment index both show improvement: expectations, the forward-looking indicator, rose more than 5 points to 53.5 with current conditions up nearly 4 points to 73.1. These comparisons are against the mid-month readings, again indicating improvement over the last two weeks.

The report describes the results as surprising and said gains were posted across age groups and regions. Share prices and the dollar both firmed in immediate reaction to the data while Treasury yields rose. It's important not to overstate today's gains since they are compared against record low readings from literally a lifetime of data. But they are positive and suggest that consumers believe the worst is already over. The Conference Board releases its consumer report on Tuesday.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index continues to indicate that the U.S. consumer is deeply concerned about the economy as the latest reading showed only incremental improvement from a depressed level. The Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index inched higher in mid-July to 56.6 from June's month-end reading of 56.4. Unfortunately, inflation expectations are drifting up. One-year inflation expectations jumped 2 tenths in July month to 5.3 percent with 5-year expectations unchanged at 3.4 percent. The latest consumer sentiment report offers a condensed version of the dilemma faced by the Fed - whether to worry more about economic growth or about rising inflation.

Consumer sentiment Consensus Forecast for final July 08: 56.4
Range: 56.0 to 57.5

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.)
 
 

2008 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/182/12/152/293/143/284/114/255/165/306/136/277/117/258/15
Release For: JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAug
 
Released On: 8/299/129/2610/1710/3111/1411/2612/1212/23
Release For: AugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec
 


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