NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer sentimentunexpectedly rose in October to its highest level in five yearsas optimism about the overall economy improved, a surveyreleased on Friday showed.
STORY: COMMENTS: DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, 4CAST LTD, NEW YORK:
"We are surprised by it but not totally. The indicators onconsumer sentiment for the start of October have been mixed,some have corrected lower from their September rise and somehave extended further. Here we have Michigan extending further.
"It is significant -- we are getting some quite interestingsignals from consumer sentiment and employment data, bothunemployment rate and initial claims, that there has been somequite significant improvement in the economy. The evidence isnot totally convincing yet, we are still getting mixed signals,but there is enough to make people sit up and take notice andstart debating what is happening. Economists are still trying towork out what to make of it, but there is enough positiveevidence that we can't dismiss it."
JACOB OUBINA, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMIST, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS,NEW YORK
"Certainly the rise in sentiment is a surprise to us andespecially in the context of high oil prices as well as the factthat equities pretty much languished. You have to wonder howmuch politics could be involved. This flies in the face of morefundamental factors that should be driving sentiment. This couldalso be related to the drop in the unemployment rate, which gota lot of headlines last week."
WAYNE KAUFMAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST AT JOHN THOMAS FINANCIALIN NEW YORK
"The consumer hasn't been the big problem that people areworried about. Consumer-related stocks are one of the decentareas of the market, both discretionary and staples. Theconsumer is hanging on."
COMMENTS: STOCKS: U.S. stocks added to their gains .
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)
Keywords: USA ECONOMY/CONFIDENCE