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Consumer sentiment index hits 93.8 in November vs 91.6 estimate

U.S. consumers' attitudes about the economy rose to a better-than-expected level this month, boosted by the presidential election, according to one survey.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment hit 93.8 in November's final reading, the University of Michigan said on Wednesday. Economists expected the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index to hit 91.6 in November's final reading, up from 87.2 in October'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.

A shopper at the Aldi food market in Moreno Valley, California.
Gina Ferazzi | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
A shopper at the Aldi food market in Moreno Valley, California.

Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, called the results a "presidential honeymoon" after the victory of Republican Donald Trump.

"The initial reaction of consumers to Trump's victory was to express greater optimism about their personal finances as well as improved prospects for the national economy," Curtin said in a statement. "The upsurge in favorable economic prospects is not surprising given Trump's populist policy views, and it was perhaps exaggerated by what most considered a surprising victory as well as by a widespread sense of relief that the election had finally ended."

But Curtin said that economic policies laid out within the first 100 days of Trump's presidency have the power to support or dampen consumers' burst of optimism.

"To be sure, no surge in economic expectations can long be sustained without actual improvements in economic conditions," Curtin said. "Presidential honeymoons represent a period in which the promise of gains holds sway over actual economic conditions. Presidential honeymoons, however, can quickly end if they are unaccompanied by prospects that economic conditions will actually improve in the future."