NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose in October to its highest level in five years as optimism about the overall economy improved, a survey released on Friday showed.
BRETT RYAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND U.S. ECONOMIST, DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES, NEW YORK
"The main reason for the increase was the index for consumer expectations and that reached the highest level - 79.5 - since July 2007. Consumers' reading on their current personal finances was the highest since November 2007.
"At the same time five- to 10-year inflation expectations fell to 2.6 percent which is down from the previous survey (final September) of 2.8 percent. So what is happening here is that people are feeling better about the economic outlook once we get past the election. At the same time they are not feeling as much on price pressures as you would expect given rising gas prices in September. You're getting to a period of stability. The fact that people seem less worried about losing their jobs will give them a more positive outlook. If things are not great, at least they are not getting worse. There's probably a little optimism around the election and some kind of resolution for policy going into next year."
DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, 4CAST LTD, NEW YORK:
"We are surprised by it but not totally. The indicators on consumer sentiment for the start of October have been mixed, some have corrected lower from their September rise and some have extended further. Here we have Michigan extending further.
"It is significant -- we are getting some quite interesting signals from consumer sentiment and employment data, both unemployment rate and initial claims, that there has been some quite significant improvement in the economy. The evidence is not totally convincing yet, we are still getting mixed signals, but there is enough to make people sit up and take notice and start debating what is happening. Economists are still trying to work out what to make of it, but there is enough positive evidence that we can't dismiss it."
JACOB OUBINA, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMIST, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, NEW YORK
"Certainly the rise in sentiment is a surprise to us and especially in the context of high oil prices as well as the fact that equities pretty much languished. You have to wonder how much politics could be involved. This flies in the face of more fundamental factors that should be driving sentiment. This could also be related to the drop in the unemployment rate, which got a lot of headlines last week."
WAYNE KAUFMAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST AT JOHN THOMAS FINANCIAL IN NEW YORK
"The consumer hasn't been the big problem that people are worried about. Consumer-related stocks are one of the decent areas of the market, both discretionary and staples. The consumer is hanging on."
COMMENTS: STOCKS: U.S. stocks added to their gains . BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices trimmed their gains .
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)
Keywords: USA ECONOMY/CONFIDENCE