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U.S. consumer sentiment slightly better than initially estimated in February

The final reading for the February Reuters/Michigan index of consumer sentiment came in at 76.8 compared to a preliminary reading of 76.2 and the January final reading of 79.0. This was the lowest reading since August.

Economists had forecast the index to be revised to 76.5.

According to the report, the index of consumer expectations fell 4.5 percent m-o-m to 70.7 from January’s final reading of 74.0, while the index of the current economic conditions decreased 0.6 percent m-o-m to 86.2 from January’s final reading of 86.7.

“Despite a small gain in late February, consumer sentiment was slightly lower for the entire month than in January,” noted Richard Curtin, the Surveys of Consumers chief economist. “All of February's loss was due to households with incomes below $75,000, with the declines mainly concentrated in future economic prospects,” he added. “The worst of the pandemic may be nearing its end, but few consumers anticipate the type of persistent and robust economic growth that restores employment conditions to the very positive pre-pandemic levels.”

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