U.S. consumer sentiment fell in July

WASHINGTON--A closely watched measure of household confidence in the U.S. economy declined in July, but remained elevated. 

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The University of Michigan on Friday said its final reading on consumer sentiment during July was 93.4, up from a preliminary reading of 93.1 but down from 95.1 in June. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a final July figure of 93.1. 

An index tracking confidence in the current economic situation rose to its highest level since July 2005, but an index tracking expectations about the future moved lower. 

The overall index was up 3.8% in July from a year earlier. 

Gauges of consumer, investor and business sentiment jumped following last year's presidential election. But some of those measures have drifted lower in recent months, and stronger sentiment didn't appear to generate stronger spending or a pickup in overall economic growth. 

The Conference Board on Tuesday said its index of U.S. consumer confidence rose in July to 121.1 from June's 117.3, reflecting more positive assessments of both the current situation and the outlook. The overall index peaked in March at 124.9, its highest level since December 2000. 

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The University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment report can be accessed at http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/

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

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