US consumer sentiment disappoints in final March reading

Linda Wentzel shops for clothing at a Costco Wholesale store in East Peoria, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A measure of consumer sentiment came in lower than expected on Friday, according to the University of Michigan.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index hit 96.9 in March. A consensus from Thomson Reuters expected 97.6, unchanged from early March.

Richard Curtin, surveys of consumers chief economist, said, "The continued strength in consumer sentiment has been due to optimistic views on three critical components: higher incomes and wealth, more favorable job prospects, and low inflation expectations."

"The data indicate that real consumer spending will advance by 2.7 percent in 2017, but those gains will be uneven over time and across products," Curtin added.

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