Consumer sentiment hits 89.8 in September vs. 90.8 estimate

Shoppers carry bags while crossing the street near an Apple store in San Francisco.
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A key measure of consumers' attitudes was unchanged this month, edging below expectations, according to preliminary data.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment hit 89.8 in September's preliminary reading, the University of Michigan said on Friday. Economists expected the consumer sentiment index to hit 90.8 in September's preliminary reading, up from 89.8 in August's final reading, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

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

Consumers' assessment of current economic conditions dipped slightly, hitting 103.5 so far this month, down from 107 in August, the survey said. But expectations ticked up to 81.1, from 78.7 in August.

Modest gains in the outlook for the national economy have been offset by small declines in income prospects, Richard Curtin, the chief economist of the survey, said in a statement.

"Overall, consumers remain reasonably optimistic about their economic prospects," Curtin said.

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