U.S. consumer sentiment began the year at a very high level, boosted by record-high stock prices, strong job market gains, and an improved view of current economic conditions.
The University of Michigan’s preliminary sentiment index for January came in at 99.1, down from the seven month high of 99.3 in December. Consumer’s view of current conditions improved while expectations for improved conditions in the near future flagged a bit.
Inflation expectations also firmed up in December, providing some relief to Federal Reserve policymakers who say they aim for 2 percent inflation but have undershot their target year after year.
The preliminary consumer sentiment read is consistent with an economy expanding at a moderate pace for at least the first half of this year.