News Column

Consumer Sentiment Pushes Markets Higher

May 17, 2013

Staff Reports --

consumer confidence

Americans have gone shopping again, with consumer confidence approaching a five-year high last month and nearing a six-year high in early May, according to news sources.

The University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters index of consumer sentiment for May climbed to 83.7, up from 76.4 in April, according to figures released on Friday. That's the highest it's been since July 2007, MarketWatch reported.


Related: Consumer Prices Fell in April on Lower Gas Costs


Consumers in the upper brackets showed the most optimism -- as might be expected among consumers with less debt and greater assets -- though they expressed little optimism about earnings growth, according to Reuters.

That would be from wages and other compensation, however. The upper brackets are more heavily invested in the markets, and the Standard & Poor's and Dow Jones Industrial Average have seen a remarkable string of highs in recent weeks.

The rise in consumer sentiment gave a boost to Wall Street. The DJIA was up 60 points in midmorning trading at 15,294, and the S&P was up 9 points at 1,659. The DJIA was up 1.2 percent for the week, while the S&P was up 1.6 percent.

The Reuter's index also showed a rise of consumers who expect to buy durable goods and a jump in consumer expectations.

Economists said lower gasoline prices and low inflation seem to have offset the expiration of the payroll holiday tax, MarketWatch and Reuters both reported.


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