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Survey: Consumer sentiment improving


The attitude of U.S. consumers is improving, Reuters reported.

Consumer sentiment was up to 74.2 in December from 71.6 in November, according to a preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan.

The reading reflects the highest level of consumer optimism since June and the third-highest level since the start of 2008. It also exceeded economists’ median forecast of 72.5, which was based on a Reuters poll.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey also showed that the barometer of current economic conditions rose to 85.7 in December from 82.1 in November. That was the highest reading since January 2008, near the onset of the economic crisis.

Improved expectations for consumer spending and for the economy may also be reflective of this week’s news that President Barack Obama fashioned a compromise to extend Bush-era tax rates for two years.

“While the recently negotiated tax agreement…occurred too late to have much impact on the data, a widespread expectation among consumers that the Bush tax cuts would be extended existed,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s director.

According to the survey, consumer expectations in December rose to 66.8, up from 64.8 in November.

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