U.S. consumer sentiment was little changed in April as Americans expected the economy to slowly improve, though they were less cheery about the state of their own finances, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment inched up to 76.4 from 76.2 in March.

The survey topped economists' forecasts for 75.7, which had been the preliminary figure reported in early April.

While recent developments in the overall economy were viewed as being somewhat less favorable, the outlook for the recovery still improved.

The gauge of consumer expectations rose to 72.3 from 69.8, while the component measuring the five-year outlook rose to 92 from 89.

However, just one in four households expected their finances to improve during the year, and the survey's barometer of current economic conditions fell to 82.9 from 86.0.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their finances improved in April, down from 34 percent in March and a slight improvement over 27 percent last year.

Consumers expected the recent rise in gasoline prices to moderate in coming months, but higher gasoline prices were still expected over the long-term.

The survey's one-year inflation expectation fell sharply to 3.2 percent from 3.9 percent, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook eased to 2.9 percent from 3.0 percent.