US consumer sentiment picks up more than expected in March
(ShareCast News) - Consumer sentiment improved more than expected in March, according to the preliminary reading from the University of Michigan.
The consumer sentiment index rose to 97.6 from 96.3 in February and 91.0 in January 2016, beating expectations for a reading of 97.0.
Meanwhile, the current economic conditions index increased to 114.5 from 111.5 the month before and 105.6 in the same month last year.
The index of consumer expectations nudged up to 86.7 from 86.5 in February and 81.5 in March last year.
Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said: "The overall level of consumer sentiment remained quite favourable in early March due to renewed strength in current economic conditions as well as the extraordinary influence of partisanship on economic prospects.
"Overall, the sentiment data has been characterised by rising optimism as well as by rising uncertainty due to the partisan divide. Optimism promotes discretionary spending, and uncertainty makes consumers more cautious spenders. This combination will result in uneven spending gains over time and across products."