2008 Economic Calendar
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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 8/29/2008 10:00:00 AM For Aug(f), 2008
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level61.7 62.0 61.0  to 63.0 63.0 

Consumer expectations are improving and inflation worries are easing, the results of the Conference Board's consumer confidence report earlier in the week and today's Reuters/University of Michigan report. The Reuters consumer sentiment index rose more than 1 point from mid-month and nearly 2 points from July to 63.0. But the moderate gain masks a solid and important gain in the expectations component, to 57.9 vs. 56.8 at mid-month and well up from 53.5 in July. Expectations are definitely improving, not only in consumer sentiment reports but also in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's report on the manufacturing sector released earlier in the month. The gain in today's expectations data offsets an actual month-to-month decline in the assessment of current conditions, 71.0 in August vs. 73.1 in July.

Now the good news on the inflation side. One-year inflation expectations held on to their big mid-month improvement, down 3 tenths to 4.8 percent. Like overall sentiment, expectations on inflation are improving just when things appear to be at their worst: right when the CPI is running at a 5 percent year-on-year clip, consumers see less pressure ahead. Five-year inflation expectations are unchanged at 3.2 percent.

Though the data show improvement, it's important to keep in mind that levels are coming off record lows. Financial markets showed no immediate reaction to the report which nevertheless hints that consumer spending, just when it's hitting a bottom as evidenced by this morning's personal income/spending report, may be poised for a rebound.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index may have bottomed but it still remains depressed as sentiment edged higher in mid-August to 61.7 from July's 61.2. The latest number was bumped up by improved expectations. The current conditions component actually slipped. Recent declines in gasoline prices appear to have helped to ease inflation expectations. For one year out, inflation expectations fell 3 tenths from July to 4.8 percent.

Consumer sentiment Consensus Forecast for final August 08: 62.0
Range: 61.0 to 63.0

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.)

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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