The final October reading on the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index rose to 86.9 -- the highest level since July 2007 -- from a final September reading of 84.6, according to reports on data released Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a final October reading of 86.4, matching a preliminary monthly result. For context, the consumer-sentiment gauge averaged 86.9 over the year leading up to the recession. Economists follow readings on confidence to look for clues about consumer spending, the backbone of the economy.
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