Consumer sentiment fell to a preliminary July reading of 93.3 from a final June level of 96.1, according to reports on the University of Michigan gauge released Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a July figure of 95. Economists follow readings on confidence to look for clues about consumer spending, the backbone of the economy. For context, the consumer-sentiment gauge averaged 86.9 over the year leading up to the recession.
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