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Consumer Sentiment Falls in April to Eight-Month Low

U.S. consumer sentiment fell to its lowest in eight months in April on rising gasoline
prices and troubles in the housing market, while inflation expectations also rose sharply, a survey showed on Friday.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said the preliminary April reading of its consumer sentiment index slid to 85.3 from 88.4 in March.

The April result was the lowest since 82.0 in August 2006 and marked the third straight fall in the index. The median forecast among analysts polled by Reuters was 87.5. The 63
forecasts ranged from 84.5 to 90.0.

"Consumer confidence declined in early April due to rising gas prices and falling home prices," a statement accompanying the Reuters/University of Michigan data said.

"Surprisingly, for the second month, the entire loss was among upper-income households."

The survey's gauge of current economic conditions fell to 102.4 -- its lowest since September -- from 103.5 in March.

Its measure of consumer expectations fell to an eight-month low of 74.3 in April from 78.7 in March.

The survey's one-year inflation index jumped to 3.3% in April after holding steady for three months at 3%. Its five-year inflation index edged up to 3% after spending two months at 2.9%.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, a monthly series of data on U.S. consumer sentiment, are produced by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. From
January 2007, Reuters has exclusive rights to distribute the data.