Friday, April 29, 2011

Consumer Sentiment increases slightly in April compared to March

by Bill McBride on 4/29/2011 09:55:00 AM

• From the Chicago Business Barometer™ Tempered: "The Chicago Purchasing Managers reported the CHICAGO BUSINESS BAROMETER slackened but remained strong, indicating expanding economic activity for the nineteenth consecutive month. In response to special questions about the Japanese disaster, panelists reported minimal impact."

The overall index decreased to 67.6 from 70.6 in March. This was below consensus expectations of 69.2. Note: any number above 50 shows expansion. The employment index decreased to a still strong 63.7 from 65.6. This was another fairly strong report.

• The final April Reuters / University of Michigan consumer sentiment index decreased to 68.9 in April from the preliminary 69.6. This was up slightly from the March reading of 67.5.

Consumer SentimentClick on graph for larger image in graphic gallery.

This was below the consensus forecast of 70.0.

In general consumer sentiment is a coincident indicator and is usually impacted by employment (and the unemployment rate) and gasoline prices.

This low reading is probably due to $4 per gallon gasoline prices.