Bloomberg to End Early Release of Consumer Confidence Index: WSJ

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The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence survey, an important economic indicator that regularly impacts markets, will no longer be released early to a small group of investors once Bloomberg LP starts releasing the data next year.

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Bloomberg has signed a five-year contract that starts in January 2015 to release the monthly survey, viewed by economists and investors as one of the more accurate gauges of household spending trends.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Bloomberg will release the data to its clients via a news story while the university will simultaneously release the findings on its web site.

Bloomberg, according to the Wall Street Journal, will end the practice of charging investors a fee in exchange for an advanced copy of the survey.

“This agreement ensures that we will be able to maintain the high quality of these surveys for the foreseeable future, and supports our strong commitment to open access to research data,” James Jackson, the director of the university’s Institute for Social Research, which produces the monthly survey, told the newspaper.

Last year The Wall Street Journal described how the University of Michigan and several other entities that produce market-moving surveys often sell an early look at the results to investors.

Under the previous contract, Thomson Reuters paid more than $1 million a year to be the exclusive distributor of the University of Michigan’s survey results. Reuters charged investors more than $5,000 a month to get the results before they were made more broadly available.

While legal, the practice was criticized by regulators as being unfair and the New York attorney general began an investigation into the practice, which led to Reuters suspending the early release.

Bloomberg’s new contract ends the practice altogether.

“By ending early access to critical market moving survey data information, this deal strikes a major blow in our effort to promote fairness and avoid unfair distortions in the securities markets by cracking down on what I call 'Insider Trading 2.0,'” Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, told the Wall Street Journal.

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