Consumer Sentiment Posts Surprise Dip in Late November


U.S. consumer sentiment rose in November to its highest level in more than seven years on improvements in the current economic condition, including lower gas prices and improving job prospects, a survey released on Wednesday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final November reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 88.8, its highest reading since July 2007 on a final basis. The reading was up from the 86.9 the month before but slightly below the preliminary reading of 89.4.

Despite the uptick, it was below the median forecast of 90.0 among economists polled by Reuters.

"Consumers more frequently reported hearing about positive rather than negative economic developments in the November

survey, with reports of improving employment the dominant news item," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

"While there was no change in evaluations of the current performance of the economy or the year-ahead outlook - both remained at positive levels - the longer term economic outlook improved substantially."

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions rose to 102.7 from 98.3, just below a forecast of 103.0.

The survey's gauge of consumer expectations edged up to 79.9 from the 79.6 in October and was short of the expected 80.8.

The survey's one-year inflation expectation slipped to 2.8 percent, the lowest year-ahead inflation rate expected since October 2010, from the 2.9 percent in the prior month. The survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook was at 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent in October.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)