Consumer sentiment hits 97.8 in November vs. 100.9 estimate

  • Consumer attitudes on the economy fell in early November.
  • Consumer sentiment was expected to remain steadfast, according to economists polled by Reuters.
  • The University of Michigan index measures 500 consumers' attitudes on future economic prospects.
A customer purchases the new iPhone X at an Apple store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.
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A customer purchases the new iPhone X at an Apple store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

U.S. consumer sentiment tumbled in early November, though the index remained at the second-highest level of the year so far.

The University of Michigan's index of consumer attitudes fell to 97.8 in November, well below the expectations of a survey of Reuters economists, who forecast no change from the 100.7 level at the end of October.

The measure soared to 101.1 on Oct. 13—the highest level since 2004—and has been consistently deflating since then.

Richard Curtin, chief economist for Surveys of Consumers, attributed that decline in consumer attitudes to "widespread losses across current and expected economic conditions."

Curtin said that while wage gains and the overall number of consumers have been trending positively, "these favorable trends were countered by a slight rise in year-ahead inflation expectations and a growing consensus that interest rates will increase during the year ahead."

While consumer sentiment fell nearly 3 percent in November, it remains above the 2017 average of 96.8.

Curtin also said the new data support the forecast that personal consumption spending will rise 2.7 percent in 2018.

The index measures 500 consumers' attitudes on future economic prospects, in areas such as personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.

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