U.S. consumer sentiment fell sharply in early February to levels associated with previous recessions, dragged down by concerns a bleak economic outlook would raise the unemployment rate, a survey showed Friday.
The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers index of consumer sentiment dropped to 69.6, the lowest reading since February 1992, and below analysts' median forecast for a preliminary reading of 76.3.
The index was at 78.4 at the end of January.
"The sentiment index has only been this low during the recessions of the mid 1970s, the early 1980s and the early 1990s," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
The report pushed the dollar lower versus the euro, while short-term interest rate futures raced to fresh session highs as the market priced in a half-percentage-point Federal Reserve interest rate cut in March.