U.S. Consumer Sentiment Fell Again in December

By Ben Leubsdorf Features Dow Jones Newswires

A key measure of U.S. consumer sentiment slid in December for the second straight month, but continued to signal solid household confidence to close out 2017.

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The University of Michigan on Friday said its consumer-sentiment index was 96.8 in early December, down from 98.5 in November and its October level of 100.7, which had been the highest since January 2004.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a preliminary December reading of 99.9. A final figure for the month will be released Dec. 22.

"Most of the recent decline was concentrated in the long-term prospects for the economy, while consumers thought current economic conditions have continued to improve," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist. "Importantly, the largest decline in long-term economic prospects was recorded among Democrats, which reflected their concerns about the impact of the proposed changes in taxes."

Optimism among U.S. households has been bolstered this year by low unemployment, healthy economic growth and record-breaking gains for the stock market. A separate measure of consumer confidence produced by the Conference Board jumped in November to its highest level since November 2000.

Write to Ben Leubsdorf at ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2017 10:32 ET (15:32 GMT)