U.S. consumer sentiment still at 10-year high despite falling short in February


A gauge of consumer sentiment fell slightly in February, but remained near a decadelong high, as self-identified Republicans and Independents remain confident in the economy after the election of Donald Trump.


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Still, the survey remains divided along partisan, political lines. Self-identified Democrats expect a recession while Republicans expecting robust growth. The recent rise in optimism, which saw a boost after Mr. Trump’s election in November, reflects a turnaround from consumers’ attitudes in October, when sentiment had matched a two-year low.

The University of Michigan said Friday that its final reading of consumer sentiment was 96.3 in February, up from its preliminary reading of 95.7 earlier this month but down from January’s final reading of 98.5. It is up 5% from February 2016.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a February reading of 96. The index’s three month average is at the highest it has been for nearly 13 years.

A rise in consumer expectations is largely being driven by Independents as the polarized views of Republicans and Democrats largely offset each other. The forward-looking index of consumer expectations is up 5.6% from February a year ago and up 13% from October.

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