Consumer Sentiment Gauge Ticks Lower in July

Dow Jones Newswires

Consumers remain uncertain about the economy in July, according to data released Friday. The University of Michigan final July sentiment index slipped to 93.1 from a preliminary reading of 93.3 and a final June reading of 96.1. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the end-July index to increase to 94.0. "A disappointing pace of economic growth was the main reason for the small decline in consumer confidence," said Richard Curtin, chief economist at Michigan's Survey of Consumers that compiles the sentiment index. Still, he noted the index has averaged 94.5 since December 2014, the highest 8-month average since 2004. Mr. Curtin said positive news about wages and jobs were driving the index. This month's final current conditions index rose to 107.2 from an early month reading of 106.0. The expectations index dropped to 84.1 from 85.2. On Tuesday, the Conference Board reported its measure of consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in July. The board said consumers turned more cautious about the labor markets. The board also suggested the volatility in the stock markets had made U.S. consumers more uncertain. Consumers continue to have a muted view on inflation. According to the Michigan survey, the one-year inflation expectations for all of July held at the preliminary reading of 2.8%. Inflation expectations covering the next five years edged up to 2.8% from 2.7%.

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