by Bill McBride on 2/15/2013 10:03:00 AM
Friday, February 15, 2013
Click on graph for larger image.
The preliminary Reuters / University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February increased to 76.3 from the January reading of 73.8.
This was slightly above the consensus forecast of 75.0, but still very low. There are a number of factors that impact sentiment including unemployment, gasoline prices and, for 2013, the payroll tax increase and the default threat from Congress. People will slowly adjust to the payroll tax increase, and the threat of default is now behind us ... and sentiment has improved a little.
Earlier, a solid report from the NY Fed: February Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates conditions for New York manufacturers improved for first time since summer of last year
The general business conditions index rose into positive territory, advancing eighteen points to 10.0. The new orders index also rose sharply, climbing twenty points to 13.3, and the shipments index increased to 13.1. The prices paid index pointed to a continued acceleration in selling prices, and the prices received index, while positive, inched lower. The index for number of employees rose for a third consecutive month and, at 8.1, registered its first positive reading since September, though the average workweek index remained negative.