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U.S. consumer sentiment fell in December, continuing to decline from its peak in October.
The University of Michigan's index of consumer attitudes fell to 96.8 in December, the opposite of a rise to 99 which economists surveyed by Reuters expected. The index hit 97.8 in November.
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, said in a statement that "most of the recent decline was concentrated in the long-term prospects for the economy."
"The rise in inflation expectations in early December was a surprise, and confidence in this finding must await confirmation in the months ahead before any inferences are drawn," Curtin said.
The index measures 500 consumers' attitudes on future economic prospects, in areas such as personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.