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Consumer sentiment ticks lower in August

People walk by the Westfield World Trade Center shopping mall in New York.
Kena Betancur | Getty Images
People walk by the Westfield World Trade Center shopping mall in New York.

A measure of consumers' attitudes was slightly lower this month, as lower income households watched expenses, according to new data.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment hit 89.8 in August's final reading, the University of Michigan said on Friday. Economists expected the consumer sentiment index to hit 90.6 in August's final reading, up from 90 in July.

The monthly survey of 500 consumers measures attitudes toward topics like personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.

Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, said that while consumers' outlook for the overall economy improved slightly, respondents reported less favorable personal financial prospects.

"Most of the weakness in personal finances was among younger households who cited higher expenses than anticipated as well as slightly smaller expected income gains," Curtin said in a statement.

Low interest rates and the U.S. presidential election were also on consumers' minds, Curtin said. Inflation is expected to stay low in the near term, and consumers are split on which candidate would actually improve the economy, although they believe Democrat Hillary Clinton will win, the survey said.