A second report on Friday showed the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dipped to 80.0 in March from 81.6 in February. The index was little changed from earlier this month.
"Current conditions in the overall economy were reported by consumers to have recently weakened," survey director Richard Curtin said.
A combination of bad weather, a slow pace of inventory accumulation by businesses, the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits and cuts to food stamps is expected to hold back economic growth to an annualized pace of around 2 percent in the first quarter.
But a rebound is expected as these factors fade. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter.
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U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data as investors digested remarks by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that his government was ready to support China's cooling economy.
Services spending up
U.S. consumer spending in February was lifted by an increase in services consumption, likely because of increased demand for health care and utilities. When adjusted for inflation, spending rose 0.2 percent. January's real consumer spending was, however, revised to show a 0.1 percent gain instead of a 0.3 percent jump.
This measure goes into the calculation of gross domestic product, and January's revision suggested consumer spending cooled this quarter after logging its fastest pace in three years in the final three months of 2013.