Consumer Sentiment, Inventories Head Higher

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November 9, 2012 by   Comments Off on Consumer Sentiment, Inventories Head Higher

An increasingly upbeat view of the economy and jobs market drove U.S. consumer sentiment to a more than five-year high in early November, while a jump in wholesale inventories suggested the economy grew more than initially estimated last quarter.

It was the fourth month that A What To Do To Get Over Ex Wife mericans adopted a rosier economic outlook, even as financial markets show increasing anxiety about the approach of the “fiscal cliff” of spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in the new year, on fears they could push the country back into recession.

Separate data from the government also released on Friday showed wholesale inventories rose in September by the most in nine months, prompting economists to raise their forecasts for third-quarter growth. Inventories are a key element of the government’s measure of economic growth and can highlight underlying strength or weakness.

The index of consumer sentiment from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan rose to 84.9 in November from 82.6, topping economists’ expectations for a reading of 83.

It was the highest level since July 2007. The measure of consumer expectations also hit a more than five-year high, rising to 80.8 from 79.0. Most interviews for the survey were done before Tuesday’s presidential election.

“It shows that the U.S. economy is on a decent footing heading into the so-called fiscal cliff,” said Joe Manimbo, market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

“There’s a lot at stake, and there’s a lot of momentum that could be lost if lawmakers don’t get their act together.”

Survey director Richard Curtin said the re-election of President Barack Obama should not have an impact on overall expectations going forward, but if Washington does not act quickly to avoid the fiscal cliff, with its $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax rises, consumers could face a shock.

Friday’s data came a week after the government’s monthly labor market report showed job growth picked up in October. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, though it held below 8 percent for the second month in a row.

But the chances of a comprehensive legislative solution to the fiscal cliff before January 1 are considered slight, and members of Congress have been looking for a temporary fix to buy time

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