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Consumer sentiment hits 97 in April, versus 98 estimate, University of Michigan says

Consumers were generally optimistic during the month of April, new figures showed on Friday, though not as cheery as Wall Street economists expected.

The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index hit 97 in April, slightly below economists expectations for a reading of 98 during the month, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

Earlier on Friday, a separate report showed that the U.S. economy grew at a disappointing pace, and its slowest in about three years as consumer spending appeared to falter.

Nevertheless, "there was widespread agreement among consumers on their very positive assessments of the current state of the economy as well as widespread disagreement on future economic prospects," the group said.

Last month the index had a final reading of 96.9 for March, with consumers' attitudes remaining "quite favorable," data showed. However, the final reading came in below economists' expectations, disappointing those who had been monitoring the numbers closely.

This monthly survey by the University of Michigan measures 500 consumers' attitudes toward topics such as personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.