Consumer sentiment dips in early April

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 13, 2012 10:05 AM
Consumer sentiment dips in early April

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer sentiment slipped modestly in early April as higher gasoline prices hit household budgets, but optimism over the economic outlook lifted consumers' expectations, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment dipped to 75.7 in April from 76.2 in March. Economists had expected the index to hold at last month's level.

"Needless to say, the revival of confidence critically depends on the two economic events that consumers still expect to happen: that jobs will become more plentiful and that gasoline prices have ended their sharp run up," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

"Both are widely expected, and these expectations are anchored well enough to withstand temporary disappointments."

The survey's barometer of current economic conditions tumbled to the lowest level since December at 80.6 from 86.0. But the measure of consumer expectations rose to 72.5 from 69.8, hitting its highest level since September 2009.

The survey's one-year inflation expectation eased to 3.4 percent from 3.9 percent, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook was unchanged at 3.0 percent.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)